Child Behaviour Link to Snoring
A report out today establishes clear links between mild to severe sleep problems and behavioural problems in children. The study, which looked at 11,000 children in the UK suggests that sleep problems could harm the development of the brain in children, furthermore it debates that conditions such as as ADHD could be preceded by and aggravated by breathing related sleep disorders.
Dr Karen Bonuck, the lead researcher, believes that sleep breathing issues affect the supply of oxygen to the brain at a time when it should be benefitting from the restorative effects of sleep. Marianne Davey of the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Society believes that some children are diagnosed with ADHD when there is is an underlying and unrecognised sleep disorder, that if treated would improve behavioural problems. This will undoubtedly be interesting and welcome news for families whose children do have sleep disorders and behavioural problems but it is equally important for all families in highlighting the crucial role sleep plays in brain development in children and teenagers.
Does your child get enough sleep?
*All children vary but children should be getting around the correct amount of sleep for their age:
1 – 3 years – 12 -14 hours
3 – 6 years – 10 -12 hours
7 – 12 years – 9.5 – 10.5 hours
12 -18 years – 8.5 – 9.5 hours
The effects of sleep deprivation on are well documented and having just 1 hour less sleep per night than recommended can have an impact over time. Behavioural problems, reduced attention span and reduced learning skills are all strongly associated with lack of good quality sleep in children and teenagers. This is a problem that seems to be getting worse. Research has shown that today’s children and teenagers get on average 1 hour less sleep than 100 years ago and modern technology seems to play an important role in this; how many children a generation ago had a TV, DVD player, Laptop, iPod etc in their bedroom?
Should you be worried about your child’s sleep?
The good news is that unless your child is showing any signs of not having enough sleep and is coping well they are probably fine. Children just like adults vary in the amount of sleep they need; one of my daughters needs considerably more sleep than her sisters or she is fit for nothing!
Pediatric sleep specialist William Kohler states
“A child who is alert and doing well in school with no behavioral issues is probably getting enough sleep,” he then goes on to say;
“We may not have good standards for understanding how much sleep an individual child needs, but there is plenty of good evidence that getting too little sleep or having poor-quality sleep leads to a wide range of health and behavioral problems,” .
As a parent you can best judge whether your child is getting sufficient sleep but it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on the amount of sleep they are getting and be aware that many children actually become hyperactive when they are tired! They may seem like they have bags of energy but post teatime madness is often a good indication of overtiredness! If your child does seem to be suffering from lack of sleep it may be an idea to think about your bedtime routine and their sleep environment. For example, do they have too many distractions in their room? Are they overstimulated in the run up to bedtime?
Studies have shown that children with a TV in their bedroom tend to perform less well in school than those without. If your child is having issues that you think could be related to sleep, it may be an idea to move the TV out of their bedroom for a while to see if that helps.
As a teacher I have seen first hand many tired pupils who admitted that they were watching TV in their rooms, late at night without their parents’ knowledge!
Clearly it is vital that children have good quality sleep to enable them to develop, learn and achieve their potential, hopefully this report will highlight the important role of sleep to all parents including those whose children are most affected.
What do you think? Does your child get enough sleep or do you have a struggle to get them to sleep?
More details on the report
This article was reblogged from a blog written by Kelly Barrett of Kip McGrath Urmston & Stretford in Manchester. To connect with Kelly on social media, please click on the links below:
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