Is Your Child Sleeping Enough on School Days?

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Color photo of a tired/bored six year old girl student sleeping while sitting in her school desk on a hardwood floor.

Has your child slept enough to be at his or her best during the school day?

Over time not getting enough sleep can affect your child’s ability to learn and perform well at tasks or test-taking.  Lack of sleep can impact behavior so that children appear to have symptoms of Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) such as irritability, impulsiveness and inability to concentrate.

“If you have concerns about your child’s sleep pattern, keep a sleep diary and write down what worries you about your child’s sleep,” says Frances Pelliccia, MD, a pediatrician who sees patients at the Saint Peter’s University Hospital Family Health Center.  “This diary should be kept for at least two weeks in order to provide the most useful information to you and your child’s pediatrician. Take note of your child’s sleep habits, not just the time he or she goes to bed.”

Good sleep habits prevent impulsive behaviors and accidents caused by impulsivity.  It improves a child’s overall health and eliminates daytime sleepiness which interferes with their daytime performance.  They will be happier and more apt to adapt to changes.  This way they can better cope with the demands of school, recreational and social schedules.

In general, children who get restful sleep are more social and more able to work with peers and staff at learning new skills and at playtime.  Their eye-hand coordination develops well which translates to better performance later in sporting activities.  Good sleep improves a child’s memory, thinking, social interactions, activities, and academics.  When children are rested, they are able to think better and make decisions.  They will be more in control of their behavior, more organized and coordinated; and many accidents can be prevented.

Health conditions such as allergies can affect your child’s ability to get quality sleep and lack of sleep in turn will impact a child’s medical problems.

“Talk to your pediatrician about these and other concerns,” Dr. Pelliccia advises.

Visit the Saint Peter’s Better Health Library for more information about children and sleep.

 

 

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