How Do You Explain This Behavior?

By Dr. Dawn Stanley, Medical Director at the Sleep Disorders Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center- Lone Tree
Posted

Is your child not paying attention in school, becoming unruly or performing poorly in his or her classwork? Behavioral problems, crankiness and hyperactivity can sometimes be attributed to poor sleep habits. 

 Adults are not the only ones who suffer from a poor night’s sleep. Did you know that more children are experiencing sleep issues than ever before?

 As adults, we know the impact that lack of sleep has on us and how it contributes to overall health related illness. When children don’t have a sleep routine or are over stimulated, it can impact the quality of their sleep.  Parents might not think that a Sleep Center treats children or that it can be a resource for worried moms and dads.  In fact, the Sky Ridge Sleep Disorders Center treats children from 8 to 18 as well as adults. 

Here are some tips to help establish healthy sleep habits for your children:

  • Develop a realistic attitude. Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force. The best you can do is to create a sleep-friendly environment and try, try and try again.
  • Children function best when they have a routine and a sense of order. Establish consistent bedtime “rituals” that you outline. For example, brush teeth, put on pajamas, read, listen to quiet music or other quiet activities and after you have given your undivided attention for at least 20-30 minutes stick to the allotted bed time.
  • Children should fall asleep on their own, in their own beds.
  • Low lights are best.
  • Put children to sleep in a quiet room, fans or other soft white noise can be helpful.
  • Have a regular wake-up time – even on the weekends.
  • A light snack before bed is fine but avoid large amounts of liquid.
  • A cool room (around 68-70 degrees) is preferable.
  • Set predictable and consistent nap routines; good nappers tend to be good sleepers.

 The key is to know when to seek help.  Snoring is NOT normal in children. If your child is snoring or exhibits behavioral problems such as daytime sleepiness or hyperactivity, you should talk to your doctor to possibly schedule a sleep study.

 

Could Your Teen be Sleep Deprived?

Recognize the signs of sleep deprivation and sleep problems by asking yourself if your teen:

  • Has difficulty waking in the morning for school
  • Yawns frequently throughout the day
  • Is continuously late for class and has trouble getting out the door in the morning
  • Can’t seem to get through the day without drinking caffeinated beverages
  • Has difficulty in school, or a teacher notices that he/she falls asleep in class
  • Is irritable, anxious and gets angry easily on days when he/she gets less sleep
  • Runs from one activity to the next – cutting into sleep time
  • Takes naps for more than 45 minutes and "sleeps in" for two hours or longer

 If you suspect your teen has a sleep problem, please call the Sky Ridge Sleep Disorders Center at 720-225-3100.

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