Sleep and Your Child’s Health

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Categories: Pediatrics
Importance of Sleep for Children

The latest episode of CBTV's Health Matters with Doylestown Health features a topic about something everybody needs every day – sleep.

Good quality sleep is something we all dream about getting in adequate amounts on a daily basis. For growing bodies, sleep is especially important, according to the experts interviewed on CBTV's Health Matters with Doylestown Health. The final show of the second season features information about sleep and your child's health and tips for getting a good night's rest.

Sleep and Your Child's Health

Maria Luiza Albuquerque, MD is a board-certified pediatric hospitalist with Doylestown Health's Della Penna Pediatric Center. "The more sleep you can get the better able you are to go through the stages of sleep more correctly, and get to the part of sleep that's called REM sleep, where you do a lot of dreaming. During REM sleep hormones are released and creativity is engendered along with parts of your intelligence. So the more sleep that you can get - at least eight hours - the better."

David Manners, a guidance counselor at CB West, has been counseling students for more than 16 years, working to support in particular students suffering from anxiety. "If a student comes to me upset, I do gauge how much sleep they've had the night before. And that is often telling as far as emotional regulation and what they're reacting to and what they can process."

How much sleep is enough?

Children of different ages require different amounts of sleep as they grow. For school-age children (6 to 12 years), the recommended amount of sleep is nine to 12 hours per day. For teens it's a little less, more like eight to 10 hours per day.

Dangers of not enough sleep

Sleep is just as important to your children's development and well-being as nutrition and physical activity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and a child's immune system.

The body and mind are busy during sleep. If a child doesn't get enough sleep, the body doesn't have time to complete all the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite.

Children and teens who don't get enough quality rest are often irritable and less able to concentrate and focus. This can affect school work, job performance and even safe driving skills.

Healthy sleep suggestions

Here are some tips for healthy sleep habits from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Make getting enough sleep a priority for your family
  • Stick to a regular daily routine and go to bed at the same time every day
  • Monitor children's and teen's screen times and turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bed time
  • Create a comfortable sleeping environment by dimming or turning off lights, keeping the temperature on the cool side and limiting distracting noises
  • Avoid overscheduling and encourage adequate downtime
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician about sleep, any problems with sleep and suggestions to improve sleep habits.

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About Pediatric Services

Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children's services to Bucks and Montgomery County communities.  The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services.

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