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Let me sleep on it

January 31, 2011 - Erin O'Neill
As if we parents didn't have enough to worry about, now there is a new study that says if your child doesn't get enough sleep, it could contribute to him or her being obese. Great. It makes sense, though I tend to take most studies with a grain of salt.

Sleep in my household is a precarious notion. It seems, for me personally, no matter what time I try to go to bed or how much sleep I actually get, I still have trouble waking up and feel tired most of the day. I've never been a heavy sleeper and I haven't learned to turn my brain off at night. Over the years my work schedule has changed my sleep schedule and just as soon as my body gets used to one thing, I change it up again. I believe that my body is still trying to wake up at 4 a.m., and I haven't had to get up that early in a couple years.

The other problem in my household at bedtime is that everything turns into a prolonged tug-of-war. Putting on PJs and brushing teeth - tasks that should take 10 minutes tops - are stretched out into 30-40 minutes. Mostly because I refuse to give in and do something for my child that she has known how to do herself since she was 3. I want her to learn responsibility. But, at the same time, I want her to do it when I want her to do it and not when she's finished playing.

Some families I talked to for an upcoming story struggle with bedtime problems with their older children and the availability of technology, i.e. texting their friends in the middle of the night.

I totally believe that good sleep habits are something learned early in life and they follow you through adulthood.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep needed varies among people of different age groups:

• Newborns (0 to 2 months): 16 to 18 hours • Infants (3 to 11 months): 14 to 15 hours • Toddlers (1 to 3 years): 12 to 14 hours • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 11 to 13 hours • School-age children (5 to 10 years): 10 to 11 hours • Teens (10 to 17 years): 8 1/2 to 9 1/4 hours • Adults (18 and up): 7 to 9 hours

How much sleep are you getting?


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