Illalong News

  • 10th November, 2017

From the Principal's Desk

A Good Night’s Sleep!

Children have one thing in common – no two are ever the same! When it comes to school routines and those in the home, some children adapt easier than others. One of the most important routines is getting to bed on time. This is the case for the very young and the not so young.

Getting to bed in good time often comes down to routines. The request to stay up just two minutes more, the pleading for you to read just one more book (for the third time) or the use of technology late in the evening, can all throw out routines and result in disruptive sleep patterns.

Have you checked you internet usage rates? Do you have a spike in your internet use in the early hours of the morning? Some teenagers openly report getting up in the early hours of the morning to surf the web or indeed play games over the internet with people from all corners of the globe. This can be so disruptive to their sleep, health and education. Sadly, this is far more frequent than we care to admit and I do urge all parents to check their internet usage and have a conversation with their children.

Any factor that decreases the quantity or quality of sleep that a child receives may lead to difficulty with performance at school and may even lead to behavioural problems, as a consequence of fatigue. Research has suggested that the increased availability of technology to younger children has resulted in detrimental sleep patterns. Further, this research has suggested that a regular bedtime was the most consistent predictor of positive developmental outcomes in four year olds. The research highlighted that language, reading and math scores, were higher in children whose parents reported that they enforced regular bedtimes.

The number of hours sleep recommended by children varies by age. In general, five-year-olds should get between 11-12 hours sleep; nine-year-olds, 10-11 hours sleep; and 10-year-olds at least nine hours. Older children still need a good eight hours sleep a day – as do we all. If your child is not alert or able to function properly throughout the day, the bed time routine should be adjusted to provide the opportunity for more sleep.

To enable children to get a better night’s sleep, exciting or high energy activities should be avoided within one hour of going to bed. Pre-bedtime activities like taking a bath, brushing their teeth, and reading a book often signal to the brain, that sleep time is nearly here.

Insufficient sleep and poor sleep habits have been linked to health problems including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, moodiness, irritability, reduced memory function and delayed reaction times.

It is often difficult to set up and maintain these routines, or convince adolescents that they need more sleep, but it is an important part of a balanced daily routine. One of the challenges for us as parents is that we too need time for sleep. This is often very difficult with so many demands on our time, but it is an investment in our own health – one for us all to reflect upon!

Sleep well.

Brian Grimes

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