Is this the reason why your kids are exhausted?
Recent studies have shown that children are now suffering from a lack of sleep more than ever before, and this signifies a new realm of problems.
Children are not aware of the impact a lack of sleep has on their health and, therefore, they don’t realise the pressure they are putting their bodies under.
Children who don’t get enough sleep are leaving themselves vulnerable to illnesses such as infections and colds because their immune system is being compromised.
They also may not be able to cope with the rigours of daily life and their school work can become exhausting for them also.
Tired kids are not able to focus enough, and they may struggle to stay on top of their school work as their brains become frazzled and stressed.
Sleep is vitally important to children and, as parents, we must encourage good habits, so kids won’t be negatively affected.
The last thing anyone wants is stressed children but we all know kids who aren’t getting enough sleep are understandably moody.
Kids who don’t sleep enough are more likely to be overweight too. Tired children may tend to eat more because of an increase in the hormone that causes hunger and this again, is another health problem.
Why is this happening?
In most cases, children aren’t getting enough sleep because they are secretly using devices while their parents sleep, or they are staying up too late. If you let your child have a device in their bedroom you are inadvertently encouraging them to use devices and you can't be sure of when these devices are turned off.
Children tend to spend hours on these devices checking out what everyone is up to and they find falling asleep impossible in case they miss out on something important on Instagram or Snapchat.
Children nowadays are hardwired to have constant entertainment in the form of devices (whether a mobile or a tablet) which offers them 24/7 viewing and little time to rest. Some kids, especially older ones and teenagers aren’t relaxing without the constant beeping of their tablets or phones notifying them to another post or video that they must see.
What can you do?
Banning devices at bedtime would be a good starting point to encourage a healthy sleep pattern. The blue light really is a real sleep killer and we have long known the impact this light has on people’s health. For kids, it must be worse as their brains are developing at a significant rate and we really don’t know how this will impact future health as it is a new phenomenon – device addiction.
Technology should only be for a certain amount of time a day and kids should not be watching TV to help them go to sleep.
Being a responsible parent means being unpopular at times and setting boundaries. It isn’t to punish them and you will hear stories of other kids having their phone at bedtime, but you need to stand strong and don’t let them have what they want.
It is after all for your child’s health.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.