Oh my goodness, yall! I can’t believe I have heard about ANOTHER family with a baby/toddler/preschooler that is not getting enough SLEEP! I cannot even begin to tell you how upsetting that is – as a parent and teacher. The importance of sleep in our children is HUGE!
Here’s the story of sleep deprivation I just heard:
Two parents were holding their two year old, at 7:30 at night. This girl, who is actively rubbing her eyes and looking almost zombie-like, eats dinner between 8 and 9 pm and then goes to sleep between 10:30 and 11:30 pm. She, then, wakes up around 6:30 am. She does not really nap and she used to only sleep 3-4 hours a day! So, a 6-7 hour night is really good!
The Importance of Sleep from the Sources Mouth
When you look up sleep deprivation on Google, the first six articles are from Health.com, sleepassociation.org, webmd, webmd, webmd, and healthline.com. In each of these articles they give a list of symptoms and effects of sleep deprivation.
(All information given below is from the articles listed.)
Why is this so important to us?
Well, in each of the articles it talks about how depriving our bodies of sleep has an astounding effect. In the last webmd article, it even mentions how studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived have the same or worse hand-eye coordination than those who are intoxicated. That’s incredible!
So, just what are the effects of sleep deprivation?
Now, those symptoms are alarming for adults who truly realize the risks. But, kids (and students) do not! So, let’s just break this down a bit more to relate to our students and kids at home.
When our kids don’t get enough sleep it messes with their central nervous system which controls their brain function, balance, growth and development. Not to mention, kids are much more likely to lose focus easier, gain weight quicker, and get sick more often.
Who’s at fault?
Do we blame our kids for being sleep deprived? Absolutely not! It’s our job as parents to teach them how important sleep is, especially when they are young and still forming habits. Good sleeping habits fall right alongside good eating habits. And, yes, I know, some parents just aren’t informed. To that I say, there are more sites than I can count that give the appropriate amount of sleep each age group needs. Basically, when they’re first born, kids need between 12-15 hours of sleep a day. Each year or two that time drops by about an hour until as adults we need between 7-9 hours on average.
What does this mean for teachers?
When students do not get adequate sleep it affects their brains in multiple ways. They can become moody (aren’t all middle-schoolers though?) and easily irritated. Teachers, we all know that means they are more likely to provoke or be provoked in our classes, which takes away from academic time. Sleep deprived students are also at a higher risk of lower academic performance due to slower reaction time and limited brain capacity since their central nervous system didn’t get enough time to recharge. And, since their bodies didn’t get enough time to reset, the brain was unable to make connections between old and new information. That’s a HUGE deal since we are supposed to be getting students ready for state tests or other standardized tests that we, the teachers, are held accountable for the results! Let’s just go ahead and get mad at dentists when their patients come to them with cavities, too!
How can we teach our kids the importance of sleep, then?
Well, I am certainly not an expert, which is why I got online and found one! I used Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense Program with both my girls and they each sleep between 10-12 hours a night consistently. My girls are 21 mos. and 3 years old. And, I implemented Dana’s methods when the girls were 21 mos. and 6 mos. old. Now, I’m not trying to get you to buy anything. Dana has a podcast on iTunes for FREE and in THIS LINK you can find her tips to help you DO IT YOURSELF!
Your Challenge: Are you or your kids sleep deprived? If so, what are you going to do about it? Let me know by commenting below!
P.S. Check out what else our kids NEED here.