Sleep deprivation is the buildup of sleep debt. Through the course of a week, it adds up. “In children sleep deprivation can cause problems with attention, focus and concentration,” said Dr. Mark Rasmus, sleep medicine provider at the Saltzer Health sleep clinic in Boise.
There are some things you can do to ensure that you and your child get a good night’s rest.
First, Dr. Rasmus recommends having a consistent wake time, limiting daytime napping, and minimizing blue-wave light exposure in the evening. He recommends shutting off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. “That gives you a chance to work on something else to slow down your thoughts.”
There are other therapies available to transition from being awake to asleep. He suggests reading a paper book without blue-wave light exposure, using progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.
“Meditation is a tool that has been used for thousands of years,” said Dr. Rasmus. “There are many different forms of meditation. It’s another great way to slow down the mind and drift off to sleep naturally.”
It is also important to remember that children typically need more sleep than adults. For example, a toddler needs about 11-12 hours and a high school senior about 8–8.5 hours.
Parents can help by being conscious of their children’s schedule. Parents tend to step back when children can put themselves to bed but still understand when their kids are going to sleep, when they’re shutting off technology and the amount of time they dedicate to sleep can go a long way.
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