Dear Families,

Thanks to the news about sleep deprivation, or perhaps due to a doctor’s advice, we know the importance of getting a good night sleep. Key benefits include: improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Studies have shown not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression. I know personally, if I don’t get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night, I don't function as well the next day. Same for my son, who turns 14 this month. As a teenager, he should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

If you are interested in seeing guidelines, the “Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations” was published last year and can be found at sleep guidelines. For example, children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours, including naps, on a regular basis.

In addition to getting the right amount of sleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests that all screens be turned off 30 minutes before bedtime and that establishing a bedtime routine is important to ensuring children get adequate sleep each night. The AAP program, “Brush, Book, Bed,” is available here: http://bit.ly/bedroutine.

For those of you who have a routine down and/or have a great sleeper — bravo! While I can say we really value sleep in my household and we typically get the recommended sleep hours each night, I do dread the week following Daylight Saving Time (Don’t forget to turn back your clocks late on November 4th)!

The end of Daylight Saving Time is a big deal for children. Your child’s internal clock won’t change along with network time as we fall back. As adults, we can process the time change and stay in bed until our normal wake-up time even. However, the child that usually wakes at 6:30, will likely wake at 5:30, and that in turn throws off naps and bedtime. This can turn into a relentless cycle of over tiredness for about a week until everyone adjusts to the change.

The number one tip from The Baby Sleep Site is to remember that light stimulating the eyes signals the brain to be awake. Try to keep the lights off and shades drawn to help your child’s brain think it’s still time to sleep. Even if they don’t go back to sleep, consistently signal those first days following, it is still sleep time and this will help your child adjust sooner and sleep later.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep,

Teri Ann

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