Posts Tagged ‘ sleep habits ’

Are Too Many Naps Bad for Your Toddler?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Sleeping Toddler BoyNaps can benefit babies by boosting their memories, but as your child grows, too many naps may actually worsen sleep patterns.

Researchers in Australia reached this conclusion after analyzing 26 studies focused on the affect of napping on kids’ health and social development. The age range covered in the studies varied from birth to 5 years old.

The researchers also reached the conclusion that poor sleep patterns had a negative impact on weight, cognitive functioning, and emotional health.

“The evidence suggests that beyond the age of 2 years, when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep,” Karen Thorpe, a professor in development science at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, told TODAY Parents.

The latest study isn’t too surprising, as longer naps could make it difficult for kids to fall asleep later and stick to a more regular bedtime routine. And it makes a case for decreasing naps as kids age, especially as toddlers transition from two naps to one.

However, not all scientists are persuaded by the study for a few reasons, reports Live Science. The age range focused in the 26 studies offer too many variables, sleep pattern data supplied by parents may be inaccurate, and there are no other studies that confirm significant differences between day and nightime sleep for kids. Also, kids who nap during the day may have chronic sleep issues that require them to catch up on sleep.

Instead, most experts agree that getting your child on a consistent sleep schedule is more important than worrying about whether your child is napping too much or too often.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Two-Year-Old Won't Sleep And Expectant Parents Are Anxious
Two-Year-Old Won't Sleep And Expectant Parents Are Anxious
Two-Year-Old Won't Sleep And Expectant Parents Are Anxious

Photo of sleeping toddler boy via Shutterstock

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Smartphones: The New Reason Why Kids Sleep Less

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Sleeping boy with tabletOnce upon a time, you probably worried that putting a TV in your child’s room might distract him from going to sleep. These days, smartphones — with its portable, easy access — are the new sleep distractions, reports HealthDay.

A new study, which will be published in the February issue of Pediatrics, focused on data about the sleep patterns and smartphone use of more than 2,000 kids in elementary and middle school, specifically the fourth and seventh grades. The results revealed that kids who had smartphones and tablets in the bedroom slept less at night and fell asleep more often during the day.

“We found that both sleeping near a small screen and sleeping in a room with a TV set were related to shorter weekday sleep duration. Children who slept near a small screen, compared to those who did not, were also more likely to feel like they did not get enough sleep,” says Jennifer Falbe, the study’s lead author.

Researchers discovered that kids with electronic devices (but not necessarily TVs) in the bedroom have worse sleep patterns than kids with only TVs in their rooms. Kids with smartphones and tablets went to sleep 37 minutes later than their usual bedtime and slept 21 minutes less per day, versus kids with only TVs in their bedroom went to bed 31 minutes later and slept 18 minutes less per day.

On average, kids should get around 10 hours of sleep at night and a routine, uninterrupted bedtime schedule can ensure good eating habits, healthy brain developments, and positive academic achievements. In an increasingly technical world full of electronic devices, it would be difficult to ban gadgets from the home.

Instead, try following the American Academy of Pediatrics’s media guidelines by having “screen-free” zones at home where no electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, or TVs) are allowed in the bedrooms. And parents should keep establishing rules to curtail the use of electronics to a few hours a day and prevent their presence at the dinner table.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy
How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy
How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy

Image: Sleeping boy holding a tablet via Shutterstock

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Three-Quarters of U.S. Kids Sleep with Electronic Devices in Their Rooms

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Nearly three out of four American kids sleep with an electronic device like a smartphone, laptop computer, or video game in their room, a habit that is likely to impact the amount and quality of sleep they get, according to a new poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.  More from The Huffington Post:

The survey found that children in every age group were skimping on sleep. More than 1,100 parents of children between the ages of 6 and 17 were asked to estimate the time their kids spent sleeping on the average school night. Across the board, kids slept fewer hours than are recommended by the NSF.

Almost three quarters — 72 percent — of these children also sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. “To ensure a better night’s sleep for their children, parents may want to limit their children using technology in their bedroom near or during bedtime,” poll task force member Orfeu Buxton, Ph.D. said in a statement. Teens who slept with devices on averaged about half an hour less sleep on school nights compared to teens who slept without devices. Experts typically recommend powering down all electronic devices at least an hour before bed, since they both stimulate the brain and suppress the release of the sleep-promotion hormone melatonin.

The good news is that parents do value their children’s sleep, according to the survey. More than 90 percent said sleep is very or extremely important for their kids to perform their best at school, to be their healthiest and happiest. But they could do more to help their children catch those zzzs.

“A good first step in setting and enforcing sleep-related rules is to establish bedtimes,” poll task force member Jim Spilsbury, Ph.D., MPH, said in a statement. Beside limiting devices in the bedroom, parents can also enforce cut-off times for sleep-disrupting caffeinated drinks or TV shows, for example.

Use our helpful internet contract to set rules for kids using digital devices.

Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children

Image: Child in bed, via Shutterstock

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Consistent Bedtimes May Help Kids Perform Better in School

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Children who go to bed at the same time every night–even if that time is a little later than parents think they need–may get a boost in school performance and brain development, according to a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.  More from CNN:

“If the child prefers to go to sleep a little bit later, but it’s done regularly, that’s still OK for them, according to the evidence,” said Amanda Sacker, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London.

Researchers looked at information about bedtimes and standardized test scores for more than 11,000 children who were part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative study of children in the United Kingdom.

The Millennium Cohort Study followed children when they were aged 3, 5 and 7, and included regular surveys and home visits. Researchers asked parents about family routines such as bedtimes.

Children also took standardized tests in math, reading and spatial abilities when they were 7 years old.

Researchers controlled for socioeconomic status in addition to other factors such as discipline strategies, reading to children and breakfast routines.

The study found that, in general, consistent bedtimes were linked to better performance across all subject areas. This was especially true for 7-year-old girls, regardless of socioeconomic background – they tended to do worse on all three intellect measurements if they had irregular bedtimes. Boys in this age group did not show the effect.

In both girls and boys, non-regular bedtimes at age 3 were linked with lower test scores, but not at age 5.

Bedtimes that had never been consistent for girls at ages 3, 5, and 7 were associated with lower scores than regular bedtimes. For any two of these ages, boys also tended to do worse on the tests if they didn’t go to sleep at a routine time.

These results “showed that it wasn’t going to bed late that was affecting child’s development, it was the irregular bedtimes that were linked to poorer developmental scores,” Sacker said.

Image: Boy at bedtime with clock, via Shutterstock

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