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Sleep Disorders

01 January 2019

Healthy sleep habits for kids pay off

Kids who don't get enough sleep on a consistent basis are more likely to have problems at school and develop more slowly than their peers who are getting enough sleep.

Good sleep routines can help children get the rest they need, researchers say.

For the new report, investigators reviewed 44 studies from 16 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. The studies included a total nearly 300 000 children, aged four months to 18 years.

Limiting technology use

"Good sleep hygiene gives children the best chances of getting adequate, healthy sleep every day. And healthy sleep is critical in promoting children's growth and development," said review leader Wendy Hall. She's a nursing professor and sleep expert at the University of British Columbia, in Canada.

"Research tells us that kids who don't get enough sleep on a consistent basis are more likely to have problems at school and develop more slowly than their peers who are getting enough sleep," she added in a university news release.

"We found good-to-strong endorsement of certain sleep hygiene practices for younger kids and school-age kids: regular bedtimes; reading before bed; having a quiet bedroom; and self-soothing – where you give them opportunities to go to sleep and go back to sleep on their own if they wake up in the middle of the night," Hall said.

A regular bedtime is also beneficial for older kids, according to the findings published online recently in the journal Paediatric Respiratory Reviews.

The study also revealed the importance of limiting technology use just before bedtime or during the night when kids are supposed to be sleeping.

"One big problem with school-age children is it can take them a long time to get to sleep, so avoiding activities like playing video games or watching exciting movies before bedtime was important," Hall said.

Image credit: iStock

 

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Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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