As well as the role it plays in brain development, sleep also plays an important role in our brain’s day-to-day ability to function. Lack of sleep makes it much harder for us to concentrate, and we become forgetful, irritable and prone to being clumsy and making mistakes.
Furthermore, scientific evidence shows that the right amount of night-time sleep is just as important for children’s development as healthy eating and regular exercise. Teenagers need between nine and 10 hours of sleep every night.
Regularly not getting enough sleep can affect your child’s academic and sporting performance and may increase their risk of emotional problems such as depression. Even 30 minutes of extra sleep each night makes a difference.
Try not to argue with your child about bedtime. Instead, discuss the issue with them. Together, brainstorm ways to increase their nightly quota of sleep.
- Allow your child to sleep in on the weekends.
- Encourage an early night every Sunday. A late night on Sunday followed by an early Monday morning will make your child drowsy for the start of the school week.
- Decide together on appropriate time limits for any stimulating activity such as homework, television or computer games. Encourage restful activities during the evening, such as reading.
- Avoid early morning appointments, classes or training sessions for your child if possible.
- Help your child to better schedule their after-school commitments to free up time for rest and sleep.
- Assess your child’s weekly schedule together and see if they are overcommitted. Help them to trim activities.