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120 South Lincoln Ave
Springfield, IL 62704
217/787-3066
 

Spring '10 Issue of What's Hoppin'n at St. John's Children Hospital'

April 8, 2010

Improved Sleep May Improve Grades

With spring come longer days, sports practices and Spring fever. Families try to fit more into their days. Be careful. Your child may lose much-needed sleep. Lack of sleep can result in health, school and behavior problems. Quality sleep helps develop a healthy brain. School age children need 9-12 hours of sleep per night. Studies show, however, that almost 40% of school age children are sleepy during the day.

Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can affect a child’s mood, attention span and ability to concentrate. It directly interferes with a child’s ability to do well in school. Studies show that poor sleepers:

• May be depressed, irritable, tense and moody.
• Are more likely to have a negative self-mage.
• Have daytime fatigue and may sleep during class.
• May have decreased levels of social skills and learning difficulties.
• Have poor coping skills.
• Report behavior problems at home and at school.
• Are more prone to illness. A lack of sleep lowers a child’s immune
system.

It is easy to overlook sleeping problems with a school age child. Children rarely complain that they are not getting enough sleep. In fact, they beg to stay up late to play video games, watch TV or spend time on the computer. Family life is busy with work, activities and homework. Keeping an 8-9p.m. bedtime can be hard. Also, parents’ can overlook the amount of time it takes for a child to get to sleep. Bedtime might be 8:30, but their child may not go to sleep until 9:30 or 10. If your child has school problems, consider his sleep pattern as a possible cause. Talk with your child’s doctor about sleeping problems, especially if your child is obese or has other medical conditions.

Tips To Ensure Your Child Gets Enough Sleep

1. Schedule an early and regular bedtime on school nights and stick to it.

2. Have a 20 to 30 minute calming bedtime routine. Do relaxing
activities, such as a bath or shower, light snack and reading a book.

3. Say no to computer use, video games and TV for at least one hour
before bedtime. These activities stimulate the brain and interfere with
sleep.

4. Reduce family stress. Studies show that children of families in stress
sleep poorly.

5. Take TV’s, phones and computers out of your child’s bedroom. Use
room darkening window shades. Turn on a small fan to make white
noise that aids in sleep.

6. Schedule some one-on-one time with each child every night. Just a
few minutes allows your child to talk about fears or worries.

7. Eliminate foods and drinks that contain caffeine.

Submitted to school staff by Barb Germann, RN, MA Health Services Coordinator Springfield Public Schools District #186 April 8, 2010

Brought to you by Parent Help Line and St. John’s Children’s Hospital Call the Parent Help Line. Help is just a phone call away. (217) 544-5808 or 1-888-727-5889 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week www.parenthelpline.org