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Zombie Prevention: Your Child’s Sleep

posted Nov 3, 2014, 4:55 PM by   [ updated Nov 3, 2014, 4:55 PM ]
by Deb Lonzer, M.D.

Deb Lonzer
Many youngsters and most teenagers do not get enough sleep, which can impair school performance and even raise the risk of depression and other mood disorders. Sleep needs are not standard across the board, but there are some good evidence-based guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation. They are as follows:
• Newborns should sleep 12 to 18 hours
• Toddlers should sleep 12 to 14 hours
• Preschoolers should sleep 11 to 13 hours 
• Kids 5-10 years old should sleep 10 to 11 hours  
• Teens actually need more sleep than adults, about nine hours a night – but less than 10 percent actually get that. They are also physiological night owls, so their bodies tell them to stay up late and sleep in.
So, what’s a parent to do?  Start by setting an appropriate bedtime. Develop pre-sleep rituals as a family and establish a sleep-wake cycle using lighting and stimulating activities in the morning and avoiding them at night. And keep electronics out of the bedroom.
Bottom Line: Many of us sleep too little – we’re so busy being busy that we forget to let our brains rest and reinvigorate. Get the right amount of sleep and be a good role model for your kids. Also be sure to monitor the amount of sleep your kids get.