Most of us are in the second grading period of school. The pace has picked up and the homework has increased and now includes science and history fair projects. Band concerts are just weeks away and time is limited. Sometimes the first thing to go is sleep.
Is everyone in your family, including yourself and mate, getting enough sleep? Most adults get 1-4 hours less sleep than they really need. School-age children often get less sleep than needed also.
Adequate sleep is essential for both mental and physical well-being. A well-rested family is happier, concentrates better at school or on the job, and copes with problems easier. There is a link between behavior problems at school and inadequate sleep.
The nights your family members get less sleep than needed should be the exception. Although sleep needs vary with individuals, listed below are some good sleep guidelines to follow.
Infants: Babies sleep about 16 hours a day in 1-4 hour bursts. Around five months of age, many babies sleep through the night. By this time they don’t need food as often, and their nervous systems are more mature.
Toddlers: These active little guys and gals need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep at night, plus one nap during the day. Some toddlers outgrow nap time by age three, but should be encouraged to sit on their beds and look at books or listen to music for a short period of time in the afternoon.
Preschoolers: Preschool-age children need an average of 11 to 13 hours of sleep at night also. Most of them have given up their naps. Napping may make it difficult to get them to sleep at night. Preschool-age children can benefit from looking at books on their bed for a short period of time each afternoon, especially if they have active mornings.
School-age children: Their need for sleep declines with age. Six- and seven-year-old children need 10 to 11 hours of sleep to give their bodies time to recharge. If they are extremely active, they may need a little more sleep. By the end of the elementary years, children need around 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Arguments about bedtime usually start during this time. Have your child count back ten hours from his wake-up time to figure his bedtime. A child who gets up at 7:00 am should be in bed and asleep by 9:00 PM.
Preteen/early teen: During the early teen years, especially during puberty, children need about 9 hours of sleep, but rarely get that much. They may sleep more on weekends to compensate for a sleep deficit during the week, but ideally they should be getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night. Lack of sleep will lower their school performances. Test scores and overall grades will reflect the lack of sleep.
Adults: Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep, but the average adult sleeps 6 or less hours. Extra sleep on the weekend helps, but that can’t replace a good night's sleep during the week.
New mothers may need more than 7 hours of sleep to meet the demands of taking care of a newborn. When it’s not possible to get enough sleep at night, a new mother should try to nap when her infant does, or rest on the couch while her infant naps and her older children watch a video.
Signs of Too Little Sleep
Wakes up with difficulty in the morning.
Irritable during the day.
Falls asleep during the day.
Has trouble controlling emotions.
Emotions are very intense.
Hyperactive or lethargic.