Wake Up to Sleep
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|Is sleep a key factor in health and educational performance?||Sleep is, with exercise and diet, a key factor in healthy children. Nine hours a night minimum is deemed vital to a child’s health. Disrupted sleep can impact adversely a child’s performance at school and yet neither teachers nor parents may be aware of any sleep problems.|
|What is sleep?||
Sleep, when brains ‘shut down’, results in a loss of contact with the
external world and an almost complete loss of self-identity, though
self-awareness can return during dreaming.
|How much sleep do we need?||From birth to old age sleep requirements change. According to the Usborne Book of Body Facts, the average amount of sleep needed each day is:||Newborn baby||16-20 hours per day|
|2 year old child||13 hours per day|
|5 year old child||10-11 hours per night|
|10 year old child||9-10 hours per night|
|Adult||7-8 hours per night|
|80 year old adult||5 hours per night|
|What are the functions of sleep?||Sleep has two main functions:||
|Does it matter if we don't get enough sleep?||Not getting enough sleep can be dangerous. The effects of too little sleep are well known. Concentration and vigilance are impaired, particularly during monotonous tasks. Creative abilities are often diminished. Memory is affected. Risk-taking increases. In children these can be reflected in hyperactivity, being accident-prone, behaviour disorders or boredom in class.|
|Does exercise help?||Exercise, but not immediately before sleep, is good for sleep. How much exercise depends on age. It has been shown that children of primary school age benefit from regular daily exercise with improved concentration and an expressed desire to go to bed at the agreed time!|
|Does diet help?||Diet is also
important – both under-eating and over-eating are associated with poor sleep.
It’s not clear, however, which foods promote or inhibit good sleep. Fatty foods
make people less mentally alert but also more sociable.
Carbohydrates may make people more alert and assertive. Eating a lot can make you feel sleepy. It increases the activity in the digestive tract and causes as much as a 50% increase in blood flow into the abdomen.
|What else can disrupt sleep?||Sleep may be disturbed by a range of factors, such as light, noise or an uncomfortable bed, but there are specific sleep disorders, which would require professional diagnosis. Some of the factors which may affect children are outlined in The Sleep Council’s booklet The Good-Night Guide For Children, which contains advice on reducing the adverse effects that disrupt sleep patterns.|
|What can we do to ensure healthy sleep?||
Waking up to sleep means keeping to some rules:
WAKE UP TO A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP