Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
104
It’s Never Too Late! (3 of 3)
November 7, 2022

Found in age groups

Related Parents' Reports

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

Buy now

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

Buy now

Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

Can parents help older children sleep better? Yes! Even for adults (mothers, fathers, and soldiers), Blog Posts #15 describe how important it is for adults to develop healthy sleep habits.

Blog 104It’s Never Too Late! (3 of 3)

Helping Older Children Sleep Well

Can parents help older children sleep better? Yes! Even for adults (mothers, fathers, and soldiers), Blog Posts #15 describe how important it is for adults to develop healthy sleep habits.

2-6 years

In a study of 315 Danish children, between 2-6 years, over a 15-month follow-up period, assessments of night sleep duration showed a significant dose-response trend for subsequent changes in measurements in four domains: hyperactivity/inattention, conduct problems, peer relationships, and prosocial behavior (Blog Post 75). “Compared with children who decreased or had no change in nighttime sleep duration from baseline to follow-up 15 months later, those children who increased their sleep duration had a concurrent decrease in measurements (less hyperactivity/inattention, fewer conduct problems, better peer relationships, more prosocial behavior). Nighttime sleep duration at baseline was a predictor of measurements at follow-up.” I asked the author whether the quality of night sleep (Blog Post 15) might be more important than the night sleep duration (Blog Post 6) and specifically on the importance of an early bedtime as a contributor to better quality sleep (and longer sleep duration). Her response: “This is a great point, and I couldn’t agree more.” Helping your 2-6 year old sleep better is effective therapy to reduce emotional and behavioral problems in a dose-response fashion.

Take Away:

  • Brain health depends on healthy sleep. More sleep is better. Blog Posts 15
  • Even a few minutes of extra sleep improves brain health. Blog Post 6
  • Just move the bedtime a few minutes earlier. Blog Posts 7, 69 and 93

2-13 years

Professor Harriet Hiscock studied a group of children between 2-13 years of age. Over a period of only 7-14 days, parents utilized a mobile app offering tailored sleep strategies to improve sleep. “At follow up, care givers reported fewer moderate/severe sleep problems, improved child sleep patterns, better temperament and improved care giver mental health. The percentage of care givers rating their child as ‘more difficult than average’ decreased from 51 to 36%.” Helping your child sleep better will improve your child’s temperament between 4 months-3 years and between 2-13 years.!

3, 5, and 7 years

Children with nonregular bedtimes examined at age 3, 5, and 7 years had more behavioral difficulties at age 7 than children with regular bedtimes. The effect of nonregular bedtimes was cumulative—the more years of nonregular bedtimes, the worse the behavior. Thus, the effect of nonregular bedtimes builds up throughout early childhood. The good news is that the harm is reversible. That is, when children change from nonregular to regular bedtimes, they show improvements in their behavior.

6 years

My daughter Zaylin was born with complex birth defects requiring multiple surgeries and prolonged hospitalizations during her first few years. The consequence of this medical history, that resolved approximately one year ago, at age five, is that she had many behavioral problems not only at school but also in our home. We regularly got reports from her teachers for “acting out” and she had an Individualized Education Plan as she struggled with academics in school. In addition, she was very mean and nasty to her brother and very defiant at bedtime. I sought out many therapists and advice in an effort to help her, but nothing seemed to work. Part of the stress for me was Zaylin’s struggles and also, the difficulty for doctors to properly diagnose her problem. At first, she was diagnosed with autism. She was later diagnosed with developmental delay and PTSD (from her repeated and prolonged hospitalizations). After many tests and many therapists, none of these diagnoses seemed to fit my daughter.

We used Sleep Rules (page 309, Healthy Sleep habits, Happy Child) and she protested. I started by taking away her stuffed animals one by one. She loves them and has plenty of them on her bed. Then I offered her a cookie for breakfast. I would let her dad put her to sleep because I would baby her and he didn’t. Her normal bedtime was 9:00 p.m. and we moved it to 6:00 p.m.It was not until I got Zaylin on a better sleep schedule, at age 6 years, that I realized that her sleep deprivation was causing all of these behavioral issues. I was skeptical because of my past failed attempts. After one week of applying Dr. Weissbluth’s advice, I saw some changes. It has been four months and my daughter is a new person! The sleep strategy allowed Zaylin to sleep longer through the night without any more bedtime battles and her improved behavior in school was noticed by her teachers, and, at home, she turned into an entirely new child, saving my daughter and our family.

Two years after her mother wrote her story, her bedtime is 7:00 p.m. and she continues to thrive academically, socially, and artistically!

7-11 years

Adding one hour in bed for five nights in children 7-11 years-old provided an additional 27 minutes of sleep with improvements in emotional lability and restless-impulsive behavior. Another study of 7-11 years-old showed that 18 minutes of extra sleep caused improvement in grades for mathematics and languages.

14 years

Parent-set bedtimes among 14-year-olds caused an earlier bedtime which was associated with an extra 19 minutes of night sleep which caused improved daytime functioning.  

15 years

There are many studies proving that just small amounts of extra sleep help children (Blog Post 6). Delaying school start times allowed 15-year-olds to sleep in later and five months later, they demonstrated improved mental health, better prosocial behavior, peer relationships, and attention level but the average increase in night sleep was only 2.4 minutes. In another study, lower levels of sleepiness and improvement in alertness and well-being among 15-year-olds was observed by delaying school start times even though the increase in night sleep time after nine months was just 10 minutes. Similar results were observed in three other studies involving delaying school start times with an additional 17 minutes, 29 minutes, and 34 minutes more sleep producing less sleepiness, less tardiness, and increase in grades. In an additional study, a 15-year-old was “classified as having low mood if he answered “yes” to the following question: During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?” Delaying the school start time caused a significant reduction of almost 5 per cent of the prevalence of low mood with a 30-minute increase in sleep duration. Also, in this study, among 13-year-olds, starting school earlier caused a decrease of sleep duration of 15 minutes and a 2 per cent increase in low mood prevalence. So, a few minutes less sleep every night also makes a big difference!

Experimentally extending sleep by adding one hour in bed for five nights caused adolescents to sleep 13 minutes more at night with a reduction of insomnia and depressive symptoms. 

15-17 years

Adolescents, aged 15-17 years, all of whom were good sleepers with more than 8 hours of sleep per night, were experimentally studied in a sleep laboratory for 10 nights. The first two nights were used to gather baseline data and all were given 10 hours of sleep opportunity. One group was experimentally sleep deprived for the next 8 nights followed by 2 nights of 10 hours of sleep opportunity for recovery. Another group was the control group; they were given 10 hours of sleep opportunity throughout the 10-day experiment. As expected, the sleep deprived group showed increased negative emotions and decreased positive emotions during the sleep deprivation phase of days 3-8 compared to baseline days 1-2, and they did not fully recover during the last 2 days of 10-hour sleep opportunity for recovery.  

But what was surprising and unexpected was the increased happiness that the control group showed when comparing days 3-8 to the baseline days 1-2.  Furthermore, they observed even more happiness during days 9-10 compared to days 3-8. The authors concluded that, “In apparently well-rested adolescents, who are sleeping more than 8 hours a night, this study demonstrates that obtaining even more sleep increases happiness by more than 10% over the course of the study.”

Add comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related blogs

These blogs are related or mentioned in this blog.
1
Blog 1
  | November 13, 2020
 | No Comments

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

Sleep is the critical requirement for brain health and function. Sleep readiness is the ability to recognize and implement sleep principles and behaviors to support optimal brain function. In turn, sleep readiness underpins a Soldier’s ability to accomplish the mission, and continue to fight and win.
Read full post
2
Blog 2
  | November 21, 2020
 | No Comments

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

Cognitive ability and readiness vary as a direct function of the amount of sleep obtained. The more sleep Soldiers [Children] get, the greater their mental acuity, with faster response times, fewer errors, and fewer lapses in attention.
Read full post
3
Blog 3
  | November 30, 2020
 | No Comments

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

Like the rest of the body (for example, muscles, skin, and liver), the brain has physiological needs for food, water, and oxygen-basic needs that must be met not only to ensure proper brain functioning, but to sustain life itself. However, unlike the rest of the body, the brain has one additional physiological need: sleep.
Read full post
4
Blog 4
  | December 7, 2020
 | No Comments

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

Good sleep is essential for optimal performance and readiness [Personal best]. Factors to consider when optimizing sleep duration and continuity include: the sleep environment, a pre-sleep routine, and a sleep schedule that conforms as closely as possible to the brain’s natural circadian rhythm of alertness.
Read full post
5
Blog 5
  | December 14, 2020
 | No Comments

Benefits of Healthy Sleep

While good leadership [Parenting] is essential for a wide range of unit [Family] outcomes, leadership behaviors that target sleep can improve the sleep habits of unit members [Children] and the unit’s overall sleep culture.
Read full post
6
Blog 6
  | December 21, 2020
 | No Comments

Sleep Duration

When children, like Soldiers, get more sleep, even if it is only a few minutes each night, there are many benefits. It may take some time to see the benefits, but sometimes, the extra sleep produces benefits immediately, even overnight.
Read full post
15
Blog 15
  | February 22, 2021
 | No Comments

Sleep Quality

When you consider healthy and high-quality sleep for your child, you think about different elements such as naps, sleep consolidation, sleep schedule or timing of sleep, and sleep regularity. Sleep quantity, hours asleep, is important, but that’s not the whole story. Too much low-quality sleep, junk sleep, is unhealthy.
Read full post
69
Blog 69
  | March 7, 2022
 | 41 Comments

My Opinion, #2

The most common cause of sleep problems in young children is a bedtime that is too late.
Read full post
75
Blog 75
  | April 18, 2022
 | No Comments

More Sleep, Fewer Emotional and Behavioral Problems

Emotional and behavioral problems (EBPs) “include poor social interaction, abnormal cognitive functioning, delayed school readiness and problems in later childhood, and persistent mental health problems and obesity in adulthood.”
Read full post
93
Blog 93
  | August 22, 2022
 | No Comments

Sleep Tip

A 2021 study by Professor Lisa Meltzer documented that delaying middle school start times by 40-60 minutes later and delaying high school start times by 70 minutes allowed middle schoolers to have 29 minutes extra sleep and high schoolers 45 minutes extra sleep.
Read full post

Stay updated with new blog posts

Get access to free lullabies when signing up!
Get notified when new blogs are posted
Loading
Notify me
About Marc
The first month
The second month
Months 3-4
Months 4-12
magnifiercrossarrow-left linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram