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Children and Sleep: Is Your Child Getting Enough Shut-Eye?

How to tell if your child is not getting enough sleep

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Updated June 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Children and Sleep: Is Your Child Getting Enough Shut-Eye?

Not getting enough rest could affect your child's performance at school.

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For many active school-aged children, sleep can be as hard to come by as it is for busy adults. After-school activities, homework, and playtime with family and friends can all lead to a packed schedule. Add to that the lure of electronics such as TV, computers and videogames, and you have the makings of chronic sleep deficit in kids.

Since school-aged children need between 10 to 11 hours of sleep, parents must be vigilant about enforcing bedtimes, setting up good sleep routines, and watching for signs of fatigue in their children. It’s especially important for school-aged kids to get enough rest. For one thing, one of the factors that can reduce one’s immune system’s ability to fight off infections is not getting enough sleep, and as we know, kids in school are constantly exposed to transmittable illnesses such as colds from classmates. Lack of sleep in children has also been associated with health problems ranging from obesity to mood swings, as well as cognitive problems that can have an impact on a child’s ability to concentrate, pay attention, and learn in school.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation in Children

If you think your child might not be getting enough sleep, look for these signs that she is not getting the amount of sleep she needs. Your child is sleep deprived if she:

  • Has trouble waking up in the morning
  • Exhibits irritable behavior
  • Seems overly emotional and moody
  • Is hyperactive
  • Has difficulty concentrating in school
  • Has trouble staying awake during the day
If you see signs of sleep deficit in your child, try setting up some good nighttime sleep routines and healthy sleep habits to help your child get the amount of rest she needs to be at her best both at home and at school.

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