I’m too tired to get up!

“I’m too tired to get up!”
by Pediatrician Dr. Kevin Benson

It’s a phrase that many of us parents hear on those school mornings.

It is an age old example of cause and effect, stay up too late and pay for it the next morning. Many adults try to beat the system with caffeinated beverages every AM but those things are not recommended for our kids (and probably aren’t really good for us in the long run either).

How much sleep do my kids need?  The National Sleep Foundation provides the following chart:

Age Recommended May be appropriate Not recommended
Newborns

0-3 months

 

14 to 17 hours 11 to 13 hours

18 to 19 hours

Less than 11 hours

More than 19 hours

Infants

4-11 months

 

12 to 15 hours 10 to 11 hours

16 to 18 hours

Less than 10 hours

More than 18 hours

Toddlers

1-2 years

 

11 to 14 hours 9 to 10 hours

15 to 16 hours

Less than 9 hours

More than 16 hours

Preschoolers

3-5 years

 

10 to 13 hours 8 to 9 hours

14 hours

Less than 8 hours

More than 14 hours

School-aged Children

6-13 years

 

9 to 11 hours 7 to 8 hours

12 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 12 hours

Teenagers

14-17 years

 

8 to 10 hours 7 hours

11 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 11 hours

Young Adults

18-25 years

 

7 to 9 hours 6 hours

10 to 11 hours

Less than 6 hours

More than 11 hours

As anyone care see, the recommended hours of sleep are always more than we expect.

Ways to improve sleep (especially with school starting):

  • Start bedtimes earlier. Avoid dramatic changes, if you’ve let the children stay up a little later during the summer, start weaning bedtime back to acceptable times by 15 minutes each night until you are back in the zone which provides adequate sleep.
  • Stop electronics at least an hour before bedtime. TV, video games, texting, etc are stimulating to the brain and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. Routines make most of us feel more relaxed and doing the same thing before going to sleep helps us prepare for a more restful night.  Bathing, reading, praying can all be part of a family sleep routine.
  • Eat right! Avoid caffeine and sugar before bed; kids are less likely to “bounce of the walls” without the stimulation of many carbonated beverages and the quick energy boosts of high calorie snacks and desserts.
  • It’s always easier to sleep when you are physically tired.
  • Maintain consistency. Many kids stay up late on weekends and then drag through Mondays and Tuesdays, start to feel better by the hump of Wednesday and then repeat the whole thing again as the weekend comes.  Maintaining bedtimes AND awakening times during the weekend will tend to help those who struggle on those dreaded blue Mondays.

Following these guidelines will make getting back to school a little less stressful for you and your family.

Kevin Benson, M.D., Board Certified in Pediatrics who specializes in:

• Comprehensive Pediatric Care
• Care From Birth to age 18 (Newborns/Infants/Toddlers/Adolescents)
• Allergy & Asthma Care Referrals
• School, Sports, Camp Physicals
• Sick Child Visits
• Routine Wellness Exams
• Health Education
• Immunizations

MCH Family Health Clinic 6030 West University Odessa, TX 79764
Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Same Day Appointments Available Call (432) 640-6600 for more information or to make an appointment.

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