For many people, getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, especially in the summer months when it stays daylight later. Sleep, however, is very important no matter the season, according to CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center Branson Sleep Supervisor Terry Hicks.
“When adults are sleep deprived, they often become lethargic,” Hicks explained. “When children become sleep deprived, they become hyperactive.”
While the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, a good, general rule of thumb is eight hours for adults and eight to 10 hours for children and teenagers.
A bedtime routine is one of the best ways to ensure you and your children are getting a good night’s rest.
“I think it is best for all kids to have a bedtime ritual,” Hicks said.
The routine should start early in the day, long before it is time for lights out.
Hicks suggests avoiding caffeinated or sugary beverages or candy after 4 p.m. When it gets closer to bedtime, the routine should include such things as turning off the TV and other electronics, brushing teeth as well as quieting and darkening bedrooms. He also suggests keeping bedrooms free of pets at night as pets can often interrupt sleep patterns.
If children get away from their bedtime routines in the summer, Hicks said that can be OK, as long as they are allowed to sleep later. Actually, Hicks said, it is part of children’s natural circadian rhythm to go to bed later.
“Their bodies are geared to stay up later,” Hicks explained.
However, with work and school schedules, in order for children to get an adequate amount of sleep they often have to adjust their bodies to going to bed earlier.
“If they get away from their normal bedtime in the summer, I would suggest getting them back on a routine a couple of weeks before school starts,” Hicks said. “Still, keep a routine as much as possible, but if you do stray from it, spend a few weeks before school getting back on it.”
Another way to help children get on a sleep routine is to wake them up early.
“If you get them up earlier, then they want to sleep earlier,” he said.
For parents who might suspect their child has a sleep disorder, the summer is a great time to have a child examined. For more information about pediatric sleep disorders, call CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center at 417-269-5575. For more information about Cox Medical Center Branson’s sleep lab and its services, call 417-335-7559.