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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Sleep Deprivation in Children… and Adults

sleep-deprivationDo you know the proper amount of sleep necessary for your child to function well?  As a matter of fact, forget the kids—how much sleep would medical professionals claim that you as an adult require on a nightly basis?

Crankiness, irritability, lack of focus, failing grades, and poor health can all stem from a deficit in the area of sleep.  Not to mention, I’ve seen my own fair share of adults nodding off in important meetings.

Let’s break it down according to age. 

According to WebMD, children ages 3 to 6 need at least 10-12 hours of sleep per night.  Children in the 7 to 12 range need 10-11 Sleep-deprivation-seemingly-linked-with-kids-who-bullyhours of shut-eye.  And teens require 8-9 hours.  The many physical, mental, and emotional changes going on in their bodies point to the fact that they need time to regroup, reboot, and be restored.  That renewal happens in sleep, when the body is at rest.

More and more studies are indicating that adults need 8 hours of sleep per night, in order to enjoy optimum health and mental focus.  One study reveals that only “seven hours a night of sound sleep can cut heart-disease risk five-fold— and lower your risk of stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes 50%!”

I remember adopting our first child, who was brought home youngest, at almost the age of eight.

“He has a good appetite, is very helpful, and naps well,” one of his vaspitateli (caregivers) informed me.

Tired woman are sleeping and holding cup. Laptop is situated on the table.This was around the time I started feeling the need to take naps, myself.

However, once in our hotel, he let me know in no uncertain terms, “I’m too old to do naps.”

Oh well, accuracy on two out of three of their assessments was not bad.  But as 2, 3, then 4 kids joined our family, I felt that it was time to teach them the art of napping, if not for their sake, then for mine.

Usually, our kids, ages 13-17, get a good amount of sleep, sacking out from sleep-deprivationabout 9:30 pm – 6:30 am, about 9 hours on average.  The youngest tends to be on the grumpy side most days, so she may need more.  When they’re not feeling well, or when there’s been an unusual amount of stress or travel, I have no problem sending them off to bed from about 3:00-5:00 pm.  They hunker down like the proverbial snug bugs in a rug and zonk out.

In my unscientific findings, two hours of sleep seems to really refresh them.  If it’s just an hour’s nap, it’s better than nothing, but doesn’t always change their mood nor energy level.  Two suits them to a T.  Sleep experts would disagree, stating that the optimum nap is 30 minutes, since, after that, a deeper level of sleep is entered and can make one groggy when awakening.  I believe they must be referring to adults.

a-sleepThe same thing in the car.  If we’re up and out at 5:00 am once a week, they get to sleep until about 7:30 or 8:00 in the car, and then we start school.  It makes getting up at 3:45 not quite so bad.

Everyone has a light fleece blanket for the journey.  They curl up, some with dogs as sleeping companions/ hot water bottles, and they’re down for the count.

Take note, folks:  sleep could be the final frontier.  This may be the latest luxury to hit our culture, and not just among the leisure class:  sleep, self-indulgent sleep.

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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Leah says:

    Well it looks like nobody around here is getting enough sleep. Thanks for your research which is helping me put 2 + 2 together-!

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