SALEM, Va. (WFXR) – Children often spend their summers staying up late and sleeping in all morning, but with school back in session, many parents are looking for ways to get their child back on track with a normal sleep routine.
“When you are sleep deprived, there are many things that change in the physiology of not your brain only but also your body as well and your interactions with society,” says Dr. Claudia Corrales, a neurologist at the LewisGale Medical Center.
Sleep deprivation in children and teens is a common problem. According to a 2005 study by the National Sleep Foundation, 25% to 30% of children and teens were not getting enough consistent sleep. Experts say while sleep is a basic need to survive, it’s often underappreciated in society.
A lack of sleep in children can not only interfere with their development, but it can also affect their physical and emotional health. Dr. Corrales says kids can become moody, have frequent temper-tantrums, and will not feel the need to participate in many activities compared to children that not sleep-deprived, who tend to be happy and refreshed.
The biggest tip Dr. Corrales has for parents when preparing their child’s bedtime routine is to simply lead by example.
“Let’s evaluate ourselves. We have to be examples to our kids and we have to show them healthy sleep patterns the same way we show them healthy habits in diet and exercise, in everything,” says Dr. Corrales.
She also says that it’s important for parents to take note on certain factors when their child is heading off to bed, including a good sleep environment, no lighting, a good room temperature, and a limited amount of noise.