Sleep deprivation in children

By Nicole Pesecky, Reporter, npesecky@clickorlando.com
Published On: Sep 19 2013 08:11:05 AM EDT

Sleep not only plays a major role for adults, it's even more important for children.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida has one of the highest rates of adults who say they don't get enough sleep.

More than 100 million Americans suffer from some form of sleeping disorder.

Sleep not only plays a major role for adults, it's even more important for children. With school back in session, the lack of sleep can really take a toll in the classroom and cause serious problems that could last a lifetime.

"Sleep deprivation is a torture for a reason.  Our bodies demand that sleep," said sleep expert Patti Cantillo-Kodzis.

The effects of going without sleep can be critical, including depression, irritability and obesity.

"We can not store new memories or thoughts without sleep, which we do with
REM: rapid eye movement dream sleep," Cantillo-Kodzis said.

REM sleep doesn't begin until about 90 minutes of sleep. Now that kids are back to school, it means changes in their routine that could impact their sleep schedules.

Parents should serve dinner at least two hours before bedtime, according to Cantillo-Kodzis.

"A middle-schooler or high-schooler needing to go to bed around
9:30 or 10:30 p.m. eating dinner at 8 p.m. is not going to be appropriate," she said.

Consistency is key, she said, adding that bedtimes should stay around the same time each night.

"People who are inconsistent with bed times and rising times, (their) body won't have the rhythm and go through stages of sleep and operate on a sleep depreciation," Cantillo-Kodzis said.

Cantillo-Kodzis says keep away the white screens; do not look at cellphones, computers or TV before bed.  In fact, she says keep them out of your children's bedroom all together.

"Bedrooms should be cool and dark and a place for comfort, not anxiety or distress. Cellphones should not be beside their face, which is hard to do in this day and age," she said.

Oversleeping can also be harmful to our bodies; we should only be sleeping as much as our bodies need, according to Cantillo-Kodzis.

Cantillo-Kodzis says while some people only need six hours of sleep, others need about 10 hours to feel rested consistently.

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