To improve kids’ sleep, cultivate good bedroom habits

SHAFAQNA – Regular sleep-wake routines in the household not only help kids get good quality sleep, they also enable age-appropriate sleep duration, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University in the US.

Limited caffeine, a regular bedtime and reduced interaction with technological gizmos in the evening are all aspects of sleep hygiene that lead to improved sleep quality and duration, according to the study, which was published in the journal Sleep Health.

The research team set out to understand how families approach sleep and so they assessed a total of 1,103 parents or guardians of children between the ages of 6 and 17 living in the US.

Participants—of which 54 per cent were female—completed surveys and members of the research team interviewed them over the Internet.

The grand majority understand the importance of sleep; however, a whopping 90 per cent of their offspring didn’t sleep as many hours as are recommended for their age group.

The researchers provide what they call a conservative estimate that children between the ages of six and 11 should sleep nine hours per night and those between the ages of 12 and 17 should get in at least eight hours of shut-eye per night.

What stood in the way in most cases was the intrusion of technology in the bedroom and lack of attention to the child’s caffeine consumption, according to the study.

“We have previously demonstrated the negative effect that use of light-emitting technology before bedtime can have on sleep, and now in this study we see how parental rules and routines regarding technology can influence the quantity and quality of their children’s sleep,” says co-author Anne-Marie Chang, assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State.

Chang’s colleague Orfeu Buxton cited busy schedules that make it hard for both children and parents to get adequate sleep, but reinforced that it should be intertwined in the rhythms of the household and treated as sacred. — AFP-Relaxnews

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