Managing your kids’ sleep this summer

2015_UHH_RT_SADIE_OLSON_100wSadie Olson has been a RPSGT (Registered Polysomnographic Technologist) since 2005 at Upland Hills Health and also holds her CCSH (Certification in Clinical Sleep Health). She conducts sleep studies on site in Dodgeville and in patients’ homes, educates patients and the community about sleep health and serves the community through the Dodgeville Area Ambulance Service.

It’s summer! It’s time for little league, and pool parties and campfires…and letting your kids stay up late? Some advice from a sleep technologist…

Should I keep my kids’ bedtime the same once school lets out?

It is very important to keep a close bedtime to what they had similarly in the school year. The more routine a child’s schedule, the easier it is to enjoy them!  The most important thing to do is to allow your child to sleep their allotted time they need. Every child needs a certain amount of sleep for their age. Of course, every child is different, but the general guideline is discussed below.

How much sleep does my kid really need?

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For the first time, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released official consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep needed to promote optimal health in children and teenagers to avoid the health risks of insufficient sleep.

The recommendations in the consensus statement are as follows:

  • Infants (four to 12 months) should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children one to two years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

What are consequences for kids not getting enough sleep?

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The main problem with children not getting enough sleep is quite the opposite of adults. Kids tend to get hyper with prolonged lack of sleep. The risk of childhood obesity is also prevalent with chronic lack of sleep. It is important to keep a routine schedule, allow enough sleep for a child and limit screen time. Especially when it is close to bedtime.

It’s hard to get the kids to sleep in the summer when it’s still light out—any tips?

Again, keep routine, a bath before bed helps. Keep room dark and cool if it is still light out for their bedtime, consider room darkening curtains or blinds.

If your child is getting the proper amount of sleep and you feel there is still a problem, it is recommended you discuss your concerns with your child’s primary physician. In the near future, Upland Hills Sleep Disorders Center will be able to perform sleep studies on pediatric patients (age 2 years and up).