Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kids who are bad sleepers

Andrea Petersen, WSJ, Jan 18, 2011, says some recent studies show that kids who had trouble sleeping at 12-14 years of age were more than two times as likely to have suicidal thoughts at 15-17.

Kids who shorted out on sleep also had an increased chance of binge drinking later on or get an anxiety disorder.

Addressing sleep problems early, in other words, can head off trouble.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 14-15 hours of sleep for babies, 12-14 for toddlers, 11-13 for preschoolers, 10-1l for school age children, and 9-10 for teens.

That’s a lot.

If it takes more than 30 mins to fall asleep, this is considered insomnia. It’s estimated 13% of school children have it. Or kids can;t stay asleep.

About a quarter of preschoolers seem tired at least a few days a week.

Some recommendations: Set a bedtime and wake time, even on weekends. Ban TV and computer half an hour before, and try to prevent anxiety (see below). Medication is usually not for kids. No caffeinated pop.

Create a calming ritual for bedtime, a warm bath, reading.

Turn off lamps and TVs—they can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin.

Try to teach kids to switch to happier thoughts—a fun jokey time with friends, praise from a teacher.

Still, some teens get up at 3 am to see if they got a text. What are ya gonna do?


Stefanie Bill said...

Is there already an evidence data base on research that 12-14 years of age who had trouble sleeping will have suicidal thoughts? When you say suicidal tendency is there something to do with sleeping?

Star Lawrence said...


Like many assertions about studies, this one has some holes I can see...What do you think of the studies they list? I always think the person might be prone to the grownup problems (genetics, chemistry) and this causes the kid problems.