Friday, January 30, 2015

Sleep Deprivation Affects Children Also-Part 3

As we continue on in this Sleep Deprivation Series, today we look at the effects of sleep deprivation on children. Probably most of us have seen children who were overtired, or in need of a nap. We can hear the whiny tiredness in the voice and recognize that the child needs more sleep.... or the older child who is grouchy and impatient.  Are those really an indication of needing more sleep? Yes, they can be!

If you missed Parts 1 and 2 of the series, you can get to them here:
Are You Sleep Deprived? Part 1
Yes, I'm Sleep Deprived-So What? Part 2

Sleep deprivation can affect children of all ages - even if they seem to be tolerating the deficit well. In fact, children who are overtired - sleep deprived- may actually seem to have LOTS of energy. Sometimes they even seem to be hyperactive and no where near ready to fall asleep, so it can be hard to tell.

Some symptoms of sleep deficiency can be: fussiness, cranky, whiny, irritable, tantrums, emotional, takes long naps, defiance, difficulty falling asleep, excessive talking, accident prone, increased appetite, hyperactive, having trouble waking up on time, clumsiness, poor grades in school, and more.  Obviously, some symptoms will apply more to older children, but all can be affected in some way.

Some experts say that children need the following amounts of sleep in each 24 hour period:

6-12 months............................... 3 hours of naps and up to 11 hours sleep at night
1-3 years old...............................10-13 hours (naps and night sleep)
Preschoolers...............................10-12 hours
School age 5-12 years old......... 10-11 hours
Teens..........................................8-9 1/2 hours

My research has shown that even losing as little as 1 hour of sleep in a night, can lead to learning difficulties, trouble concentrating, short attention spans, impaired learning and more.  A school child can seem to be lazy or a slow learner- just because of being tired.

 Another tidbit I found was that smaller children who go for 8 or 9 hours each day with no rest period... are more likely to end up in the Emergency Room.

 Behavioral problems may seem obvious with sleep deprivation, but there are also possibilities of health problems from it. Diabetes, obesity, ADHD can result... and possibly other ailments... including a lowered immunity which makes it easier to get sicknesses that are "going around".  Some children who are diagnosed with ADHD may actually only be sleep deprived.... and what a shame to start on a regimen of drugs to "fix" a problem - that really only needed more sleep. That is not to say that all ADHD falls into this category, but some can.  Other problems can include vision issues, nervousness, kidney problems and more.  I didn't find information that said that if your child only gets x amount of sleep, they WILL get ___________.  That is rather least to me... and I know from my study on adult sleep deprivation, that earlier symptoms will be mild and continue to increase to the more serious ones if the problem is allowed to continue untreated.

I did find that teens who are sleep deprived, are at an increased risk of physical and mental problems. I also found that the primary cause of death in adolescents is: car accidents, homicide and suicide. It was interesting to note that each of these can also be affected by sleep deprivation. Drug abuse can also be a higher risk for those who are sleep deprived. Sobering.

Other information I found said that research is showing many adolescents have a 2 hour sleep deficit each weeknight. As we discovered in part 2 of the  Sleep Deprivation Series,
Yes, I'm Sleep Deprived-So What?    a sleep deficit needs to be made up.... in the same number of hours as what was "lost".  In the above example, a 2 hour deficit on weeknights would equal 10 hours of sleep deficit by the weekend.... and even if the child/teen slept in really late on Saturday, most likely they are not going to sleep 10 EXTRA hours.  If they do, there are also problems with upsetting the body's time schedule with sleeping during the day possibly making it harder to sleep well at night... and a vicious cycle can easily result.

Another difficulty for teens/adolescents, is that their bodies are changing so much during those years with hormones changing and other changes occuring. It is already a time of ups and downs emotionally...  highs and lows in life.... and any sleep deprivation can magnify that and lead to emotional instability.

 So many teens now use caffeine in the form of coffee, espresso, soda, energy drinks, "power shots", tea and more, to continue doing things when they are tired... just as adults do...... it is interesting to also note that many more people in this current generation are also on some type of drug(s) for emotions, for mental health, for helping with control, and more. I have to wonder (this is my own wondering)... if extra sleep and nutrition could possibly help such problems. Hmmm... it is something to think about.  Thank you for joining me....

Next in the Sleep Deprivation Series, we will begin to address ways to help sleep deprivation. I hope you will come back.

Sleep Deprivation Series:
Are You Sleep Deprived? Part 1
Yes, I'm Sleep Deprived-So What? Part 2
Sleep Deprivation Affects Children Also Part 3

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  1. I know when I'm not getting enough sleep... I'm irritable, lethargic, and I feel ill. My children demonstrate many similar characteristics when they haven't gotten enough sleep.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I found this post through the TGI Saturdays blog hop.

    1. It is good to know how our body lets our body lets us know it needs more sleep. It is easy to keep going too long and ignore the need for sleep. Thank you for visiting :)

  2. Sleep is so vital! This was really interesting and helpful! Thanks for linking with Tuesday Talk!

    1. It sure is.... I'm glad you visited... and I am so thankful for Tuesday Talk. :)

  3. This is so true! Sleep is a very simple necessity overlooked by most of us. I know I am very irritable when I don't get enough sleep, so it helps to also be aware of that effect in children. This is a really helpful and insightful post. Thanks so much for the reminder!

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment... I know this is something I have to is so easy to neglect sleep. Thank you for visiting. :)

  4. This has been so fascinating, my dear, and I greatly appreciate you sharing this series at Roses of Inspiration. As I read this post I was thanking the Lord for my son as he is a good sleeper :)

    Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you... your comment is so sweet. What a blessing to have a "good sleeper". :) Thank you fro visiting today.... :)

  5. I agree children really need there sleep. We try to always get them to get there recommend time of sleep every night. I always notice when they are getting tired the seem to get there second wind like that extra energy you are speaking of. Thanks for sharing great post!

    1. They do need sleep... thank you for visiting, reading....and commenting. :)

  6. I enjoyed your post. I think what is a further pain with the topic of ADHD, beside it possibly being an appearance of the child having that when its sleep depervation, but the medication that the child typically gets put on one of the symptoms is usually trouble sleeping. This paticular diagnosis, while the medication to help "fix" the problem may be nessary to start, I think coping skills are also nessary since eventually the medication would have to be upped, and there are alternative to medication of the symptoms are not severe.

    1. I didn't realize that trouble sleeping is one of the difficulties with the medication... wow, that certainly can complicate a difficult problem. I know I tend to check for natural ways to deal with a problem first before medication also... and coping skills would probably be a help for the issue also. Thank you for visiting. :)

  7. Thanks for this great post and for linking up at Good Morning Mondays. I know how cranky I get when I am tired and don't get enough sleep and I know how my children are. Blessings to you and yours.

    1. So nice to have you visit... yes, sleep is a big deal for all of us. :) Thank you for stopping by.

  8. Great post! Sleep is so important, everyone is much happier in my family when we are all well rested. Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend? I hope you will join us again this Monday morning :)

    1. Thank you... enough sleep really does help the moods to improve. Thank you for visiting and for the link up party. :)