>Today I’m talking about one of those subjects no one talks about, or thinks about from what I can tell. Let’s talk about sleep, hunh? And not just any sleep, children’s sleep. It’s a topic I take a lot of flak on, here in Jordan. Starting from the day we moved, I stood out like a sore thumb. Much to people’s surprise and amazement, the Beans all sleep between 7 and 7:30. Every day. Yes, even on weekends, they’re in bed by 7:30. Oh, and yes even in the summer they’re in bed by 7:30. Mean MommaBean makes no exceptions.
During the first two years we lived here, I must have been told at least 20 times that I put my kids to bed “rather early”. It was always said in this kind of awed and disbelieving voice. Like 7 pm bed times are so outside the norm that I’m almost an alien in my strangeness. And, I’m okay with that. After all, I have three well-rested, generally well-behaved kids. What do I have to complain about?
So, today I got a message from BabyCenter, an excellent resource for parents, both new and experienced. Today’s information was on sleep. Although the Beans sleep very well, I read it for two reasons. First, I wanted to see where the Beans fall as far as amount of sleep needed at their new ages. Second, I wondered if they’d have any advice that might help JujuBean get to sleep quicker. Unfortunately she takes after me. The other Beans take after El 3atal. Their heads hit the pillow and they are asleep. JujuBean is like me. She generally takes about 25-30 minutes to fall asleep at night. I remember those days of agony. They lasted until I had kids. So, goal one was definitely satisfied. I’m dropping in BabyCenter’s chart so that you other parents will know how much sleep your kids need. This is their information, not mine and I appreciate that they make it available.
Data from Babycenter.com.
Age Nighttime sleep Daytime sleep Average total sleep
2 years 10.5 to 12.5 hours 1 to 3 hours (1 nap) 11.5 to 15.5 hours
3 years 10.5 to 12.5 hours 1 to 3 hours (1 nap) 11 to 14 hours
4 years 10 to 12 hours 0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap) 10 to 13 hours
5 years 10 to 12 hours 0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap) 10 to 12.5 hours
6 years 10 to 11.5 hours none 10 to 11.5 hours
7 years 9.5 to 11.5 hours none 9.5 to 11.5 hours
8 years 9.5 to 11.5 hours none 9.5 to 11.5 hours
• Note: The two sets of numbers don’t always add up because children who take longer naps tend to sleep fewer hours at night, and vice versa.
Imagine, 6 year olds need 10 to 11.5 hours of sleep a night. So, that means that the TwinBeans, who have to get up at 6:15 to eat breakfast before school, need to be in bed between 7 and 8. And even ButterBean needs to be in between between 7:30 and 8. So, our continued timing is good. Unfortunately, JujuBean needs more sleep. Since she has trouble falling asleep, she almost always had to be woken for school. ButterBean and JuniorBean are up and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. JujuBean drags and looks tired in the mornings. She makes it, but it’s tough for her and she eats faster and sleeps a tad later than the others.
Tiredness like that is a symptom that the child isn’t getting enough sleep. Other symptoms include behavioral problems… I’ve seen a few of those here. Okay, I’ve seen voluminous numbers of those in Jordan. Which comes as little surprise as I also routinely see kids out with mom and dad at 11:30pm.
There are actually a number of symptoms of sleep-deprivation in kids (which are different than in adults). They include:
- Frequent loss of temper
- Grumpy mornings
- Moodiness and irritability
- Overactivity and hyper-activity
- Frequent and short daytime naps.
But, why does it matter? Well, the impact of sleep deprivation is significant. Your body needs sleep in the same way it does food and water. Lack of sleep causes:
- Short attention span
- Poor memory skills
- Poor judgment
- Poor concentration
- Growth issues (did you know that your kids grow at night?)
So, really do parents intend to do these things to their kids? I expect not. I think most have no idea of the impact of this sleep deprivation on their kids. Culturally, kids awake late at night is fine. So, many parents simply aren’t aware of the damage they may be doing. They also are increasing their kids’ likelihood of developing diabetes and heart disease.
BabyCenter also address some of those persistent myths that just won’t go away (like the age-old tired, my baby won’t sleep at night if he naps…). This is a must-read for everyone: 7 Sleep Myths .
So, I say, let’s put Jordan to sleep. Night night Jordan…