Are American Children at Risk from Sleep Deprivation? Are American Children at Risk from Sleep Deprivation?
First for Women, August 2005

Mounting evidence reveals that up to 65 percent of American children are at increased risk of developing blue moods, irritability, impaired learning and more, according to First for Women. The so called kindness of parents shown to their children can lead to child deficit, according to Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Your child needs the proper sleep at the proper time and a few simple adjustments to time routine will guarantee the entire family a better nights rest.

There are a few helpful tips for aiding your child to a more restful nights sleep.

4 to 11 months
Ten minutes of self-soothing crying is normal. If you child persist on crying turn on an AM station or play a white-noise album like a soothing CD such as HUSH BABY. You can find out more about HUSH BABY at hush- baby.com. According to research in the journal, Behavior Therapist, listening to white-noise music helped 40 percent of infants to sleep on the first night and in six months they all were sleeping the night through.

1 to 5 years of age
At this age level, parents tend to cuddle their kids until they fall asleep, but according to Gary Freed, M.D., of the Apnea Center of Children’s Health-care of Atlanta in Egleston, children need to meet short-term challenges. If your child puts up any resistance, offer an incentive (like stickers) for falling asleep. Three nights is usually all it takes for a new sleep pattern to take hold.

6 to 12 years of age
What disrupts the wake-sleep cycle at this age is light. Light tricks the body into thinking its daytime and when kids watch TV or play video games in the evening the light is disrupting the wake-sleep cycle. Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., co-author of the Body Clock Guide to Better Health (Owl Books 2001)., advises parents to expose their kids to bright light an hour after they wake. This will reset the body clock and hopefully the kids will get sleepy earlier, turn off the TV/Video games and head for bed.


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