Children these days are frequently connected to the glowing screens of phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets, leading them to be more sleep deprived than ever before. In fact, more than two-thirds of the nation’s children experience frequent sleep problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Ronesh Sinha, M.D., an internal medicine specialist with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and co-leader of Sutter’s South Asian Wellness Task Force, says staying up late and having inconsistent bedtimes can lead to trouble with a child’s social and emotional behavior.
“As adults, we feel fatigue when deprived of sleep. But studies show that sleep deprived children typically exhibit hyperactivity and quick mood swings,” Dr. Sinha says. “Fortunately, behavior improves significantly once children have a consistent bedtime that gives them adequate sleep.”
Children’s sleep needs vary based on age, with younger children requiring more rest time. Elementary and middle school-age youths need about 11 hours of sleep each night, Dr. Sinha says, while teenagers require at least nine hours of shuteye. To make sure your child is getting enough sleep, follow Dr. Sinha’s guidelines to promote good sleep habits for everyone in your family.