ALEXANDRIA, VA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–September 4, 2002–Back-to-school year is a busy time for many parents and teachers. However, many times school-aged children are the ones who agonize and lose sleep over new, unfamiliar or stressful situations at school. This back-to-school year, the Better Sleep Council (BSC) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are offering useful tips for parents to help their children get a good night’s rest.
“During the busy back-to-school season many people tend to focus on shopping for new clothes, binders, backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils – but they should also place importance on making sure school kids are getting adequate nighttime sleep,” said Andrea Herman, Executive Director of the Better Sleep Council. “Sleep is a critical factor in helping ensure children of all ages are more healthy, more energetic and more alert to tackle a busy school day.”
Experts say sleep-deprivation – especially among schoolchildren – can have severe consequences including poor concentration, less energy and weakened ability to fight illnesses. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) at NHLBI, children need at least nine hours of sleep each night on a regular basis to be healthy, active, and able to do their best in school as well as in sports and other extracurricular activities.
What Can Parents Do?
If your child has difficulty waking up in the morning, is irritable and cranky, or has trouble remembering or concentrating, he or she may not be getting enough sleep. The BSC and the NHLBI offer these top 10 tips to make it easier for parents to ensure their child is getting an adequate amount of sleep each night:
Help Your Child Get at Least 9 Hours of Sleep Each Night. To be their best, children need at least 9 hours of sleep every night.
Don’t Overschedule Your Child. Too many after-school activities and commitments can keep children from precious sleep. Allow your child plenty of time for homework and chores each night to ensure that they are not forced to stay up past their bedtime.
Set a Regular Bedtime For Your Child and Stick to It. A regular bedtime can help ensure your child gets a full night’s sleep.
Avoid Caffeine Too Close to Bedtime. Consuming caffeine, found in soda and chocolate, in the evening can make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep.
Develop a Sleep Ritual for Your Child. Routine and relaxing activities, like taking a bath or reading with your child, can help him or her transition into sleep mode.
Help Your Child Unwind in the Evening. Tackle science projects, book reports and other homework either before or right after dinner. Allow your child at least one hour before bedtime to relax and unwind.
Make Sure Your Child’s Bedroom is Dark. Be sure the lights are turned off and the shades are closed in your child’s room before he or she goes to bed. While a small nightlight is fine, if necessary, a dark room is most conducive for a good night’s sleep.
Don’t Allow Your Child to Fall Asleep in Front of the Television. Noise from a television, radio, or even loud conversations can keep your child from deep, restful sleep.
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Mattress. Handing down an old mattress to a child isn’t a good idea. Because mattresses wear out over time, it’s important to maximize your child’s chances of restful sleep by making sure he or she is sleeping on a mattress that is comfortable and supportive enough in order to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.
Keep a Comfortable Room Temperature in Your Child’s Room. Children (and adults) may have a difficult time falling and staying asleep in a room that’s too hot or too cold. The ideal sleeping temperature is around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
About the Better Sleep Council
Established in 1978, the Better Sleep Council (BSC) is a nonprofit organization supported by the mattress industry. The BSC is devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep to good health and quality of life, and about the value of the sleep system and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.
The Better Sleep Guide, a 16-page brochure that provides simple solutions to help improve the quality of your life by improving your sleep, as well as information on how your bedroom and mattress can affect the your sleep, is available free to consumers. Send your request to: Guide, P.O. Box 19534, Alexandria, VA 22320-0534.
For more information on getting a good night’s sleep or to download a copy of the Better Sleep Guide, visit the BSC’s web site at http://www.bettersleep.org.