I found this article very useful considering my kids have a hard time getting to sleep at night. I know the TV in the rooms is probably the biggest problem. Let me know what has helped your family.
Teenagers unable to get out of bed due to lack of sleep is not breaking news, but sleep-deprived infants are. On the average, infants are sleeping almost 90 minutes less a day than the 14-hour minimum doctors are recommending. Statistics have revealed that toddlers sleep about two hours a week less and preschoolers more than four hours less than the minimum needed to function at their fullest capacity. The sleep recommendations from experts include 12 to 14 hours a day for children 12 to 35 months old and 11 to 13 hours for preschoolers.
Sleep experts said that young children who aren’t getting enough sleep do not function at the same level as their better-rested peers. Polls also suggested that pediatricians don’t focus enough on the sleep issue, which has resulted in parents losing up to 200 hours of sleep a year, due to their children’s erratic sleep habits.
Some of the common sleep problems include trouble falling asleep, heavy snoring, waking up at night, nightmares and restless leg syndrome, which involves irritating sensations in the legs like itching and tingling. While occasional snoring is considered normal among children, heavy snoring can be an indicator of sleep apnea, which has been linked to learning problems and hyperactivity.
Experts claimed that sleeping difficulties among children are more of a problem now than they were in the past and most of the problems can be traced back to patterns of everyday life. The fast pace of today’s 24-7 society has also been linked to disrupting children’s sleep patterns.
New York Times March 30, 2004
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Television and caffeine are helping keep many U.S. children awake at night and most are not getting enough sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep is critical, particularly to infants and young children who are going through important developmental and growth stages.
Many parents are not aware of how much sleep their children need and may not realize that television and caffeine can affect a child’s sleep. Parents need to establish a bedtime routine that doesn’t include TV and should certainly keep caffeine out of their children’s diets, as sleep is a major player in many aspects of health. In addition to setting guidelines for a bedtime routine and eliminating caffeine, there is no doubt in my mind that most all children seem to respond universally well to excluding sugars, grains and fruit juices from their diet.
These foods can have a devastating effect on a child’s sleep patterns. These foods are rapidly broken down to sugar and increase the child’s insulin levels, which can cause major disruptions in their biochemisty and over-stimulate them so they will not be able to sleep at night.
It seems clear to me that the best approach to helping these sleep-deprived infants is making critical changes to their diets by following a nutritious eating program. This includes exchanging soda and fruit juices with pure, clean water. By making these changes, you will not only add extra hours of crucial sleep to your children’s schedules, but you will also gain some much needed hours of sleep for yourself.