Is your child sleep deprived?
Research in chronic sleep deprivation shows that kids who get inadequate sleep will demonstrate impulsivity, irritability, difficulty focusing which may be mislabeled as ADHD.
A cumulative effect of chronic sleep disturbance in children can result in hyperactivity.
Toddlers require from 11-13 hours of sleep per night while school aged children (6-13 years) need about 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Interestingly, parents may think that their child is getting adequate sleep but in reality, the child may lay awake for some time before falling asleep or may wake multiple times in the middle of the night. Sleep apnea occurs when a child is sleeping but the airway is compromised causing low oxygen. Children with sleep apnea will usually snore, have noisy breathing, or sleep with their mouth open. Sleep apnea interferes with deep sleep and contributes to lack of focus and attention during the day. Here are some common signs and symptoms of inadequate sleep that your child may exhibit:
- Falls asleep during the day such as in the car or at the dinner table
- Difficult to wake in the morning, wakes very irritable
- Very short attention span with difficulty focusing
- Easily frustrated and difficult to please
- Overly clingy and sensitive
- Frequent headaches or migraines
To help improve sleep it is suggested to keep the child's room totally dark and free of electronics. Generally, it is a good idea to stop all media 1-2 hours before bedtime and to engage in relaxing activities such as warm baths with Epsom salt and reading prior to bedtime. Supplements such as Calm Restore by Gaia kids are herbal formulas specifically designed for children which can help induce relaxation and calm before bed. If your child has an ongoing sleep disturbance it is always a good idea to check with your physician and have a thorough medical examination to look for an underlying cause.