Better Sleep for kids more than a pipedream

Sunday Star Times 1 May 2011

Research has found 40% of children and teens suffer sleep deprivation, but the Kiwi behind a new study says the right techniques can see them catch up on missed sleep. “Few people realise that sleep is a necessity, not a luxury,” says Dr Geoff Kira. “Many New Zealand kids don’t get enough sleep. While adults can always catch up on lost sleep, the impact on children can be more significant, in that a lack of sleep can potentially impact on their mental and physical development, so it’s important to get it right from an early age.”

TV or computer games an hour before bed. No TVs in bedrooms.
No mobile phone use in bed.
No caffeine, high sugar or spicy food 3-4 hours before bed.
Ensure relaxing and regular bedtime routine.
Stop eating 2-3 hours before bed, digestion competes with sleeping.
Make sure the bedroom is comfortable – temperature, light, noise.
Set bedtimes and wake times – try to keep them regular.
Learn to relax – deal with worry and stress.
Use a sleep diary to check how many hours you are sleeping.

Under 1: 14 to 18 hours.
Toddlers: 12 to14 hours.
Primary school: 10 to12 hours.
High school: nine to 11 hours.
Adults: seven to nine hours.