Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits in Children, Avoiding Lack of Sleep and Minimizing Effects of Stress!

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When my second husband and I married, we both had children by previous marriages. One girl was 8 and the other was 12.

After school started, we noticed that both girls seemed more stressed, tending to complain more and showing effects of stress. Was it lack of sleep? They were going to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 PM and getting up at 7:00 AM to get ready for school so they were getting, what we thought, was adequate sleep and having healthy sleep habits. However, we found out that was not the case. Lack of sleep due to TV, homework or whatever the last hour was contributing to their day to day stress levels. Both girls were showing effects of stress in their attitude, interaction with each other and with others.

Both of the girls were fairly active, not couch potatoes. So it was natural for them to be tired at the end of the school day. But they were cranky and suffering the effects of stress from lack of sleep.

My husband and I finally decided that they were cranky because of lack of sleep. So we had them start going to bed an hour earlier and, boy, what a difference. We had two girls who would wake up in a much better mood than formerly simply because of one hour's more sleep. It really surprised us that one hour's lack of sleep could make that much difference. And apparently it can manifest itself in greater effects of stress that our children have to deal with.

Recently I read an article that mentioned to a study of 600 New Zealand 7-year-olds. This study was written up in the journal "Archives of Disease in Childhood". Although the study was about healthy sleep habits, it also indicated some effects of stress due to lack of sleep as well.

The finds of the study were interesting. The researchers had the children wear monitors to measure their activity levels each minute of the day. They also had the parents fill out questionnaires regarding their children's sleeping habits.

What they found was it took an average of 26 minutes for a child to fall sleep. However, for every hour ofactivity, it took the child an additional 3 minutes longer of tossing and turning before they fall sleep. The reverse was also true. If the child was active, it took less time for him to fall asleep indicating that more exercise during the day was helpful in that regard and that the child had healthy sleep habits. The child slept longer and could have less effects of stress due to lack of sleep.

As a parent, would not you love for your child to fall sleep quickly and stay sleep all night? How many times a week are you dealing with a child having trouble going to sleep or dealing with lack of sleep especially in school? How many times a week are you seeing your child displaying effects of stress by being out of sorts, quarreling with siblings or friends or just being disobedient? Would that help your own sleep pattern and stress management program to see your children having fun, getting along with others and being pleasant to be around? You bet it would!

What does lack of sleep do for your child and his or her stress levels? Children who do not have healthy sleep habits can have behavioral problems, low grades in school and the possibility of becoming overweight. It's amazing that lack of sleep can cause so many problems and effects of stress in our children. And, parents, do not underestimate what lack of sleep can do to you as well. High blood pressure is just one of the effects of stress that lack of sleep can cause in adults!

So children who are active will be more fit, their cardiovascular health and their weight should be better. And they should have healthy sleep habits as well. They also will not have as many effects of stress to deal with in their daily lives.

So if you are looking to minimize the effects of stress in your children as well as yourself, one of the best stress busters is getting enough sleep. And when your children sleep soundly and have healthy sleep habits, you parents are less stressed as well. The entire family is dealing with less effects of stress and having better results in their own stress management program.

So exercise, encourage your children to be more active and all of you work towards more healthy sleep habits, avoiding lack of sleep and reduce the effects of stress in your lives!



Source by Karen C Groves

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