SLEEP HEALTH

According to a 2007 report from the US National Library of Medicine, sleep issues have become a prevalent issue among school-aged children. Poor sleep health or not enough sleep affects concentration, memory, and behavior, making it harder for your child to learn. Children who don't sleep well are more likely to feel sleepy during the day and to have difficulty learning.

Unfortunately, many children with sleep issues are misdiagnosed with ADHD or having other issues when, in many cases, the underlying issue is that the child has a pediatric airway disorder.  Airway disorders include a wide variety of conditions that affect a child’s breathing passages. Pediatric airway disorders can result from issues, blockage, or malformities to the nose, throat, trachea, and bronchi.

 

Mouth breathing, sleep-disorder breathing, and snoring can disrupt brain development causing attention, behavior, and learning issues for children. An often overlooked group of symptoms associated with childhood airway disorders include bed-wetting, nightmares, sleepwalking, and colic.

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The importance of sleep for your child's mental and physical health cannot be overstated. But if your toddler is having trouble sleeping, you aren't the only one. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that sleep problems affect 25% to 50% of children and 40 percent of adolescents.

Study after study has shown that kids who get an adequate amount of sleep have better attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health.

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CDC Sleep Guidelines for Kids

TIPS FOR WINNING AT BEDTIME

Part of good sleepy hygiene is to create an environment that allows your child the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Helping children without sleep-disordered breathing create healthy routines is key to helping them have restful sleep. Creating a bedtime routine for younger children may include:

  • Turning off computers, televisions, and video games an hour before bedtime

  • Having a bedtime snack away from activity in order to allow your child time to wind down before bed

  • Taking a bath, brushing teeth, and putting on pajamas at the same time every night

  • Picking a stuffed animal or security blanket out for the night

  • Placing a glass of water by the bed

  • Reading a story, singing a lullaby, praying, or sharing a few minutes of one-on-one time with your child while you tuck them in

It's always better to put your child to bed when he or she is sleepy, not already asleep. By doing so, they learn how to fall asleep by themselves. You should walk preschoolers back to their beds if they wake up in the middle of the night. It's advisable not to let infants sleep in your bed because co-sleeping increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

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