Healthy Floyd emphasizes five numbers, 95210, to call attention to tasks for fighting childhood obesity. The number 9 represents the optimal hours of sleep school aged children should be getting. A study by The National Institute of Health came to the conclusion that “one preventive approach to overweight may be to ensure adequate sleep in childhood.” http://pediatrics.aappublications.org
There are things that we can do to encourage a good night’s sleep. Make it a priority and have a scheduled bedtime even on weekends. Develop a routine that may include music, reading or a bath. The bedroom should be free of televisions and computers and be a quiet, dark and cool environment. The mattress and pillow should be comfortable. Any exercise should be finished two hours prior to bedtime and no food eaten two – three hours before.
Battles sometimes ensue at bedtime. Tim Jahn, Human Development Specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension, provides some guidance for these situations. “Be prepared to help children calm down. Some children may require more time and attention before they can settle down and accept sleep with ease and comfort. Children are intensely individual and each day brings new experiences and feelings. Some days pass with relative tranquility, but others are tumultuous, leaving the child filled with tension and pent-up emotions. This backlog of feelings can prevent her from settling down. You can help by allowing her some leeway within the specified bedtime to unwind, calm down and collect her thoughts and feelings. Listening to your child review her day and recognizing that her experiences are important can be very helpful. Avoid bedtime conflict. Parents become unnecessarily upset when children do not fall asleep right away. If children have been cooperative with the bedtime routine and are quiet, fatigue will take over and they will eventually fall asleep. If they have not settled down and still seem tense, you should spend a bit more time on the quieting process. Remember that you can set a time for bed and lights out, but it is impossible to set a regular time for kids to fall asleep. They will sleep when they are tired. Yelling and screaming only increases their stress and guarantees that it will take longer for them to calm down.”
For additional information on sleep for both youth and adults check these sites:
The National Sleep Foundation at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/ and the Better Sleep Council at http://www.bettersleep.org/
Healthy Floyd appreciates the support of the following places for encouraging school aged children to get 9 hours of sleep: Barter Clinic, Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine, Collins Chiropractic Clinic, Floyd Carillion Clinic, Floyd County Health Department, Floyd County Public Schools, Floyd Pharmacy, Healing Tree Wellness Center, Mainly Mattresses and Furniture Store, Milestones Child Care, and Tri Area Health Clinic.