Why children need more sleep - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-02-2010, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I saw this the other day & thought it was really interesting.

Why children need more sleep

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Children sleep an hour less today than 30 years ago – and it's having a dramatic effect on their intelligence, behaviour and obesity levels.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:54 AM
 
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Wow! thanks for sharing that article it was really interesting.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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Thanks for sharing. I'm a big believer in sleep but it's good to be reminded why it's so valuable.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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Wow, that article is amazing. I was so interested by the research that backs it up. We aren't feeling the pressure yet on bedtime, but I'm sure it's coming.

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:45 AM
 
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hmm, can I get my kids to read this?

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I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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Chicken/Egg. How do they know that it isn't getting less outside exercise that's making the kids sleep worse?

I'm also leery of studies like that because of the risk that so-called sleep experts will use it to justify using CIO with infants. Mindell already did a literature review of studies that found benefits to longer sleep in adults and children over age 4 where she concluded that getting babies to sleep longer was better too.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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I don't think it's justifying CIO. Sleep is very important. When I don't sleep enough I feel depressed and I overeat. When my kids don't sleep enough they are cranky, emotional and unreasonable.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Sleep is important but it's also reasonable to account for individual differences. I have one child who needed (and still needs) lots of sleep. I have another who slept much less - as an infant had long waking periods, napped in brief snatches and woke through the night even as a pre-schooler.

It was hard to adjust my thinking about what that child SHOULD be doing - taking nice long naps and sleeping 10 or 12 hours a night - as opposed to what her real sleep requirements are, partly because I had so many well-meaning people telling me babies and children need lots of sleep. I finally realized that some children don't.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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The amount of sleep most children get is criminal. Parents don't enforce bedtimes because they're scared of coming off strict. Its horrible.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Thank you so much for posting this. I was looking for exactly this kind of article for a handout that I am creating. I know that there are individual differences, but working in schools and talking to children about their sleep habits has made me realize what a huge factor sleep (or poor quality/quantity of sleep) can be in the lives of children, and it is often overlooked.

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Old 02-03-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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I can't function well without sleep. And that does not make me a "woos" - as the article points out. I KNOW my DD needs more sleep.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by funkymamajoy View Post
hmm, can I get my kids to read this?
Me too!

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Old 02-03-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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People are often very down on me, because of how careful I am to protect my kids' bedtimes. My kids seem to go to bed much earlier, and sleep much longer, than other kids that we've gotten acquainted with, and parents think I'm weird. When I talk about it with older adults, though, they seem to think I'm right on track-- that's how much sleep their kids got, too, when they had kids at home.

So I think there's something to this.

I liked this that I read in the comments:
Quote:
but am also sceptical about a culture that hasn't yet worked out how to meet the basic needs of children, rather than just fitting them around their parents' economic roles
That said a lot, to me.

I wonder, too, if people who think their kids are getting enough sleep, would find that their kids would be happier, more alert, easier to live with, etc., if their kids got another hour or so sleep at night. Oftentimes kids DO need the sleep, but there are issues of habit and environmental influence that keep kids from getting it, and parents don't even realize it. Like knowing that if kids are in front of a blinking TV screen in the evenings, that makes it harder for them to settle to sleep, for instance. Or knowing that toddlers and preschoolers will often NOT "sleep in" in the mornings, so that if they go to bed too late, they will go chronically short on sleep.

Of course there are individual differences. There would have to be, and that means there will be certain kids who need much more or much less than the average kid. But the idea that ON AVERAGE, kids are getting less than the optimal amount of sleep-- that really rings true for me.

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Old 02-03-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Llyra,

Just curious -- how old are your kids, and what time do they go to sleep?

I have a two year old and my goal is for her to have thirteen hours (between night sleep and nap) a day of sleep.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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I strongly agree with articles like this. My DD is 7 years old and still goes to sleep b/t 7:00 - 7:30 most nights and gets up around 7. This is way more sleep than most of her friends and we're just getting to the point where it's impeding some social/sports opportunities. She plays Indoor soccer in the winter and we often keep her home from the later games (game start times can be as late as 8:40) -- my DH is the coach and he goes, we just keep her home. We were surprised when we started with this league that more parents didn't choose to keep their girls home (we were willing to forfeit games if needed). In terms of my DD, if she gets less sleep, it's a pretty big deal...it takes days to recover and she has a hard time functioning at school.

My DS (age 4) is more flexible in terms of how much sleep he needs. He can recover easier from a late night than my DD can, but he still goes to sleep at the same time and gets up around the same time...
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rosebud1 View Post
Llyra,

Just curious -- how old are your kids, and what time do they go to sleep?

I have a two year old and my goal is for her to have thirteen hours (between night sleep and nap) a day of sleep.
My kids are 5, 3, and 3 (twins). The 3 year olds go to bed between 6:30 and 7, and sleep until 7:15ish am. They also take a nap-- usually about 90 minutes. So they get about 14 hours in a day, roughly.

My 5 year old goes to bed between 7:00 and 7:30, and sleeps until 7:30.

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Old 02-04-2010, 01:11 AM
 
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I strongly agree with articles like this. My DD is 7 years old and still goes to sleep b/t 7:00 - 7:30 most nights and gets up around 7. This is way more sleep than most of her friends and we're just getting to the point where it's impeding some social/sports opportunities. She plays Indoor soccer in the winter and we often keep her home from the later games (game start times can be as late as 8:40) -- my DH is the coach and he goes, we just keep her home. We were surprised when we started with this league that more parents didn't choose to keep their girls home (we were willing to forfeit games if needed). In terms of my DD, if she gets less sleep, it's a pretty big deal...it takes days to recover and she has a hard time functioning at school.

My DS (age 4) is more flexible in terms of how much sleep he needs. He can recover easier from a late night than my DD can, but he still goes to sleep at the same time and gets up around the same time...
Wow, I'm surprised a seven year old soccer league has games that late. That's definitely past most kids bedtimes I would think.

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Old 02-04-2010, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was surprised to learn that American schools start so early (as per this article). In the UK, start time is generally somewhere around 9.00.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I was surprised to learn that American schools start so early (as per this article). In the UK, start time is generally somewhere around 9.00.
And this has ticked me off all my life. I need a lot of sleep and I don't do well in the mornings, so having to start school around 7:30 did me a huge disservice. I would seriously consider homeschooling my kids if they have the same sleeping/waking problems I did, just for this reason.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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Wow, I'm surprised a seven year old soccer league has games that late. That's definitely past most kids bedtimes I would think.
I think Indoor Soccer is sort of like Ice Hockey...field time is scarce and the smaller field where our league plays needs to fit in games for U8 and U9 Boys & Girls b/t 4PM-8:40PM on one night a week....other nights it's used for other age groups, etc. They spread around the late start times, but you end up with a few 8PM and 8:40 games. Indoor is a totally fun take on soccer (no offsides, super fast) and it's easy in that there are no practices...everyone just shows up and plays once per week, but the field issue is huge. Also, my DD is one of only thre 7 year olds on the team (the rest are 8 & 9), so I think most of the other girls have later bed times.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:00 AM
 
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While sleep was not one of the main factors in my decision to homeschool, it is definitely one of the huge benefits! I remember when my oldest was in school, between early school, after school activities, homework, it was very frustrating to try and get enough sleep in!

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Old 02-05-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I hate articles like this. I have tried everything in the world to get more sleep for my child (who often does seem tired and cranky) but as the saying goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Articles and books telling me how my child would be better off with more sleep, make me want to pull my hair out. We have always been very consistent about bedtime with a great bedtime routine. But that doesn't mean dd falls asleep. There have been times she has layed in bed awake from 7pm until 11pm without falling asleep. She usually is unable to fall asleep for a nap, unless driven around for 30-40 minutes (which isn't always doable now that we have a baby as well) and even if we can get her to nap and fall asleep at a decent time, there is absolutely nothing we can do about the early wakings (often as early as 4 am). The guilt these types of articles have created for me is enormous. And like a pp I too think that this type of research is often used as ammo from the cio camp. I have spent so much of my child's baby and toddlerhood feeling as if I were a good enough parent, if I just knew the right things to do to get my child to sleep everything would be better.

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Old 02-05-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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I hate articles like this. I have tried everything in the world to get more sleep for my child (who often does seem tired and cranky) but as the saying goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Articles and books telling me how my child would be better off with more sleep, make me want to pull my hair out. We have always been very consistent about bedtime with a great bedtime routine. But that doesn't mean dd falls asleep. There have been times she has layed in bed awake from 7pm until 11pm without falling asleep. She usually is unable to fall asleep for a nap, unless driven around for 30-40 minutes (which isn't always doable now that we have a baby as well) and even if we can get her to nap and fall asleep at a decent time, there is absolutely nothing we can do about the early wakings (often as early as 4 am). The guilt these types of articles have created for me is enormous. And like a pp I too think that this type of research is often used as ammo from the cio camp. I have spent so much of my child's baby and toddlerhood feeling as if I were a good enough parent, if I just knew the right things to do to get my child to sleep everything would be better.

I agree with this. I think the article is talking about the majority of kids, but then it leaves those of us with kids in the minority feeling like crap. My kid doesn't sleep nearly as much as she should and never has. I even brought it up with her ped. She said some kids just need less sleep and to roll with it since I can't force her to sleep. When I hear mom's talking about how their kid sleeps 12 hours at night and then a 2-3 hour nap I just want to cry.

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Old 02-05-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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My daughter isn't extreme, but she is definitely towards the lower end of the needs sleep scale. Between night and day she only needs about 10 hours and she's 20 months old. But she has the freedom to sleep whenever she wants and this is what she chooses. She is super cheerful, active, growing like a weed, and extremely advanced in most development. She just doesn't need as much sleep and that's ok. Don't feel bad, mamas.

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Old 02-05-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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What I'd like to see result from this study is for school start-times to be changed. Instead of 7:30-3 with aftercare for kids who have working parents, let's have it from 10 to 5:30 with an option between a morning playtime or a nap room for kids with working parents.

Of course, now I get why Lola (from Charlie and Lola) has time for skipping rope and coloring in and the dozen other things she does with Lotta before school starts and after having breakfast. I was thinking they got up absurdly early,
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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What I'd like to see result from this study is for school start-times to be changed. Instead of 7:30-3 with aftercare for kids who have working parents, let's have it from 10 to 5:30 with an option between a morning playtime or a nap room for kids with working parents.

Of course, now I get why Lola has time for skipping rope and coloring in and the dozen other things she does with Lotta before school starts and after having breakfast. I was thinking they got up absurdly early,
Love this idea!! This would fit so much better with my family!

I'm not sure who Lola and Lotta are, but I wondered the same thing about Frances the badger in Bread and Jam for Frances. The whole family has time for a leisurely sit-down breakfast, and then Frances has time to skip rope at the bus stop.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I agree with this. I think the article is talking about the majority of kids, but then it leaves those of us with kids in the minority feeling like crap. My kid doesn't sleep nearly as much as she should and never has. I even brought it up with her ped. She said some kids just need less sleep and to roll with it since I can't force her to sleep. When I hear mom's talking about how their kid sleeps 12 hours at night and then a 2-3 hour nap I just want to cry.

Amen to that! Ds has never slept much. I am lucky if he gets 10hrs(he's 4) everyone elses 4yo is sleeping 12 hours. If I put him to sleep an hour early, he wakes up an hour early. So if he goes down at 7 he is up at 5am! Just wish I had some of his energy!!
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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When I hear mom's talking about how their kid sleeps 12 hours at night and then a 2-3 hour nap I just want to cry.
Me, too! DS2 is/was a little bit like this, but neither of my olders ones were. DD2 doesn't seem to be shaping up to sleep a ton, either (although she sleeps quite well at night...aside from rocking on all fours, batting me with her head, for 30-60 minutes around 4:00 am). They just don't seem to need or want that much sleep. DS2 gets the most. He's 4.5 and goes to bed at 8:00 (or 9:00...lots of variables), gets up around 7:00 or 7:30 and still takes a nap at least a couple days a week.

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Old 02-05-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
What I'd like to see result from this study is for school start-times to be changed. Instead of 7:30-3 with aftercare for kids who have working parents, let's have it from 10 to 5:30 with an option between a morning playtime or a nap room for kids with working parents.
I have been a fan of this idea since, like, 1991. I remember hearing about sleep deficit in kids and how teenagers especially need more sleep, and suggestions went around about extending the school start time...but of course that never happened, and probably never will.

I actually quit high school after junior year SPECIFICALLY so I could go to the community college instead and take classes that started after 10:00.

Can you tell this issue is close to my heart?
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
I hate articles like this. I have tried everything in the world to get more sleep for my child (who often does seem tired and cranky) but as the saying goes "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Articles and books telling me how my child would be better off with more sleep, make me want to pull my hair out. We have always been very consistent about bedtime with a great bedtime routine. But that doesn't mean dd falls asleep. There have been times she has layed in bed awake from 7pm until 11pm without falling asleep. She usually is unable to fall asleep for a nap, unless driven around for 30-40 minutes (which isn't always doable now that we have a baby as well) and even if we can get her to nap and fall asleep at a decent time, there is absolutely nothing we can do about the early wakings (often as early as 4 am). The guilt these types of articles have created for me is enormous. And like a pp I too think that this type of research is often used as ammo from the cio camp. I have spent so much of my child's baby and toddlerhood feeling as if I were a good enough parent, if I just knew the right things to do to get my child to sleep everything would be better.
I hear you. The biggest problem I have is DS DOES need more sleep, but I can't FORCE him to sleep, kwim? I've tried all the methods, but he's just like me, just like his grandpa (my dad)...can't turn his brain off and GO TO SLEEP! And how can I be mad at him when *I've* struggled with it all my life? Yet I see the difference when somehow he DOES get 12 hours sleep instead of 8-10; he's a much happier kid, has fewer behavior problems (he's prone to throwing things or hitting when he's tired) and has more energy. So while I KNOW he should be getting more sleep, what the heck can I do to make it happen? Not a whole lot. So yeah, I feel guilty too, and also a little hopeless.
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