I think we all take for granted how important sleep is and what an impact lack of it has. This is true for both adults and children. To drive the point home, sleep deprivation is used as a torture tactic.
I know first hand how lack of sleep affects my family. I am the most unpleasant person to be around first thing in the morning. My husband even makes a point of keeping the kids away from me until I have had my coffee. Without the right amount of sleep, we do not even think or act rationally. This can have many repercussions, including causing traffic accidents or performing at a substandard level at work/school.
Today, we decided to have a play date with another child who has his nap time much later than my children do. We knew it could have a negative effect, but we decided to put our kids to nap later than usual. We left the friends house about an hour after nap time and my younger one fell asleep in the car. I thought he would continue to sleep once we got him into his crib at home, but instead he stayed in his crib and iggled and giggled with his brother until I finally let them out of the room. BIG mistake. I should have made sure they went back to sleep.
At dinner time, the little one decided to throw a fit as we were not serving him fast enough. He threw a fit to the point of not even eating dinner. We eventually had to treat him like a 9 month old and coddle him to get him to even calm down and drink some juice. His dad eventually calmed him down and he subsequently passed out in our bed almost an hour before bed time.
Although the effects of not enough sleep aren’t always as severe as throwing a fit, many little things can be attributed to it. If you are having difficulties with a child’s behavior or performance in school, look first to fix things like bad sleeping and eating habits. It is amazing what good disciplines will do for a person.
Children of school age do really well with routines. Suggested sleep times can be found on several sites. I read a study a long time ago that compared the amount of sleep children get in today’s society to how much they used to get before our society became so industrial and technological. I am going to look for that article, but I found another one on the study of “the sleep of America’s children”. This article can be found here. I am actually really pleased that I found this article. I cannot stress enough how important a good amount of sleep is for everyone!
I found another really good one that goes into detail for the amount of sleep for each age and good practices for bed time routines. It can be found here at netdoctor.com. It is amazing how in line it is with my previous post on getting your child to go to sleep.
Now I know just as well as anyone else how hard it is to fit everything into a busy day and still get to bed on time. Hopefully, future posts will help to make your time management more efficient so that you can get to sleep at a decent hour, after having had enough time to wind down.