How to organize the sleep of children and adolescents without the routine of going to school

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The journal JAMA Pediatrics published a series of recommendations and how many hours they have to sleep at each age.

The isolation measures that apply today are very different from those of March, when the quarantine was ordered. Many businesses have resumed their activities in accordance with the protocols and the movement of people increased throughout the country. However, the epidemiological situation has not yet allowed boys, girls and adolescents to return to face-to-face classes and the discussion continues on how and under what conditions they will be able to return. That lack of routine of going to school caused changes in daily schedules and it also affects your rest.

“The pandemic has significantly altered the normal sleep patterns of children and adolescents. Although it is similar to the sleep laxity during summer vacation, children and families need to adjust their sleep schedules to get a good rest and get up properly to start the day, “say Mori Stern, from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Florida School of Medicine (United States), Mary Wagner and Lindsay Thompson, from the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, in an article published on the patient page of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“Sleep is a key component of a healthy life when the body and brain rest and recharge – they continue -. If children and adolescents do not get enough sleep, may be irritable and have behavioral changes, attention difficulties and memory problems. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and diabetes.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children ages 3 to 5 sleep 10 to 13 hours a day, 6 to 12 years sleep 9 to 12 hours, and teens 8 to 10 hours.

“Signs of insufficient sleep include difficulty getting up in the morning, sleep during the day (outside the appropriate age for napping), sleep more on weekends, yawn or misbehave. With relaxed schedules, children and adolescents can delay going to bed and going to sleep later, “the authors say, noting that some families may need guidance to reestablish sleep schedules.

First of all, specialists advise establishing a daily routine for all members of the family with scheduled schedules to wake up, eat, homework or work, recreation and sleep. “School-age children and adolescents can help create their schedules, but parents must set healthy limits,” they argue.

Second, they suggest maintaining a consistent nighttime routine and going to bed at the same time each day. Sleeping spaces should be kept dark and cool.

Screens are great enemies of sleep. The authors recommend turn off electronics at least one hour before bed and keep them out of the boys’ room. “This means there are no cell phones, televisions, computers, tablets, or portable gaming systems. Sleep disruption is increased by just having electronic devices in the room, even if they are not being used. Electronic devices emit blue light that stimulates sleep. wakefulness, as well as eating and drinking in bed, “they emphasize and advise avoiding caffeinated beverages, including soft drinks, tea and coffee.

If bedtime is way out of date than usual under normal conditions, it can take a few weeks to get back into a routine, so gradualism is the way. “Set a goal for wake-up time, and go gradually advancing bedtime 10 minutes every 3 to 4 days. Once your child can fall asleep within 30 minutes of bedtime, change the bedtime 10 minutes earlier the next night. With each step you take, make it time to get up. It is important to avoid naps; the drowsiness that builds up during the day helps children fall asleep at night. If the nap is unavoidable, limit it to 20 minutes. “

In case children and adolescents have problems to modify their sleep schedules or if they manifest other symptoms such as snoring, panting, kicking, or sleeping too much, Stern, Wagner and Thompson advise considering a visit to the pediatrician, because there may be another health problem behind that.

“Adjusting sleep schedules can be challenging at first and It will take time implement it. Sleep is a critical part of the health of children and adolescents, so make it a constant priority and your child will benefit from it for years to come, “they conclude.


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