-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Although many kids stay
up late on long summer days, once school starts in the fall they
should return to their normal sleep routines, according to experts
at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Pointing out that adequate sleep is essential to a child's
academic success and overall well-being, the researchers said that
3- to 5-year-olds need at 11 to 13 hours of shut-eye per night.
Five to 12-year-olds need at least 10 or 11 hours a night.
"From memory to judgment, attention span, emotional stability and even immunity, sleep deprivation negatively affects school-age children," Dr. Kristin Avis, UAB assistant professor of pediatrics and a sleep specialist, said in a university news release.
"As for adolescents, it's a common myth that they need less sleep, and can handle only seven or eight hours, but they actually need nine hours of sleep," Avis said. Adolescents are typically the most sleep-deprived population in school, she added.
A poll by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 60 percent
of children under the age of 18 complained of being tired during
the day. Moreover, 15 percent admitted to falling asleep at
Anticipating the first day of school, experts say children
should start going to bed earlier to avoid these feelings of
daytime sleepiness and ensure a smooth transition back to the
"About a week ahead of school starting, begin to back up their bed-time and wake-up times. This incremental change may start off rough, but it will get easier and ensure they are not miserable on their first day at school," Dr. Stephenie Wallace, a UAB assistant professor of pediatrics, explained in a news release.
Since missed hours of sleep can add up and have detrimental
effects on children, UAB experts recommend that parents remove
electronic devices from their child's room, making it as calm and
peaceful as possible.
"On average, there are three to four electronic gadgets in a kid's room," said Avis. "It's been shown that even sleeping with a television on deprives them of 20 minutes of sleep per night, which may not sound like a lot, but adds up over a week's time."
The UAB experts noted they are conducting additional research on
how poor sleep affects children, as well as how sleep deprivation
among kids is linked to safety issues.
The National Sleep Foundation provides more information on
children and sleep.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.