Since the last post encouraged teaching kids about the importance of sleep, I thought I would follow up with something even more interesting in this month’s sleep news as it relates to them.
You don’t need to be an expert in the sleep industry to understand the difference in a child who had a good night’s sleep versus one who didn’t. As a mother, it’s as simple as a morning routine that includes “Mom, would you put my hair in a ponytail please?” from a pleasant young lady versus “MOOOOOOMMMM! I can’t go to school like this!!! My hair doesn’t look right and it has bumps.” from a puffy-eyed grouch. (I guarantee if you’re a parent with a tween daughter, the “bump factor” is well known in your house)
We can see the obvious signs of sleep deprivation in children, BUT what about the resulting behaviors that mimic ones commonly associated with other disorders like types of ADHD? The sleep experts in Vancouver, The Children’s Sleep Network, along with the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies believe it’s time to look at the quality of sleep in those children with behavioral issues, before they are labeled and treated with medications that may have adverse long-term effects.
“If these kids are exhausted, how effective are our treatments? First and foremost we should always be asking how is sleep going, because if it is not going well then it should be, I think, one of the very first things addressed.” ~Jennifer Garden, Occupational Therapist
If approved, the sleep wake behaviors app (SWAPP) will help “standardize practice as an aid for doctors to determine whether a child is suffering from a sleep disorder.” It will help them ask the right questions as it pertains to the patient’s bedtime, sleepiness, awakenings, timing, breathing, medication, diagnoses, family and background. The end result is a complete picture of the child’s sleep experience and when necessary, a diagnosis with recommended therapy.
Last year, it was suggested that my son be tested and I even heard talk of medications, because although extremely bright with good grades, he had difficulty concentrating in school. I decided not to have the testing done and I’m glad. He is now in middle school and doing extremely well. He gets a break by walking from class to class instead of staying in one room and enjoys the more challenging work. The biggest change has been to his sleep cycle to accommodate new school hours. He is now sleeping the right amount of hours and it shows, from his school performance to his improved athleticism on the soccer field.
I would call that a success and all without medication or therapy! I think the doctors in Canada may be onto something.
Please read the full article by clicking here and follow these great tips at home:
“Tips for healthy sleeping habits in children
1. Go to bed at the same time every night, so as to allow your child to get enough sleep.
2. Have and age-appropriate nap schedule for children up to the age of 4.
3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine.
4. Make your child’s bedroom sleep conducive — cool, dark and quiet.
5. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.
6. Avoid bright light at bedtime and during the night and increase light exposure in the morning
7. Avoid heavy meals and vigorous exercise close to bedtime.
8. Keep all electronics — including television, computers and cellphones — out of the bedroom and limit the use of electronics.
9. Avoid caffeine.
10. Keep regular daily schedule, including consistent mealtimes.”