Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Children & Holiday Sleep Loss

Even the most angelic child may transform into a Grinch during the holiday season. Why?

Children may be free to stay up later at night since they don’t have to wake up for school in the morning. And the excitement of the holidays can make it harder for them to fall asleep.

As a result children may get much less sleep than they need. A new
poll by a U.K. bed and mattress company found that children accumulate an average of 25 hours of sleep loss during the holidays.

“Holidays are a time for enjoying family and friends,” said AASM spokesperson Dr. Lawrence Epstein. “But the holiday activities can lead to significant sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, the need for sleep doesn’t change.”

Children often respond to sleep loss in a different way than adults. Sleep-deprived adults tend to be sleepy and sluggish during the day.But sleep-deprived children may be hyperactive. They also may be moody and irritable.

This sets the stage for a classic holiday meltdown. Tantrums. Outbursts. Crying. Let’s just say that “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” will be quickly forgotten.

What can a parent do? One solution is to keep your child on a regular schedule during the holidays.

Our bodies function best when we maintain a routine: Wake times. Meal times. Sleep times.

This schedule should include a set bedtime. In July the Sleep Education Blog
reported that children who go to bed after 9 p.m. take longer to fall asleep; they also have a shorter total sleep time.

So make sure your child has time to wind down and get in bed before 9 p.m. each night. One way to help is to turn off the TV and the computer earlier in the evening.

The holidays will be happier for everyone in the house if your child is well rested. And the season will be more enjoyable if you get your sleep too.

On you can learn why you should
put sleep at the top of your holiday wish list. Get sleep tips for the holidays from the AASM.

Image by Cristian Boldisteanu

1 comment:

Ronald Czarnecki said...

Excellent advice. Great to focus on the children during the most exciting time of year for them.

Keep up the good work.


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