6 Big Kid Sleep Problems
And you thought the bedtime issues were over! Truth is, older kids have their own set of problems getting enough shut-eye.
The blare of the burglar alarm catapulted Kathleen Manzo out of bed. Her heart beating wildly, Manzo feared for the safety of her two kids. But her husband sensed a less menacing possibility, and, sure enough, when they peered outside their Silver Spring, MD, home, there was son John, then 7, in his pajamas, standing barefoot on the lawn, sound asleep. It wasn't the first time John, now 10 years old, had wandered in slumber, although he'd never left the house before. His parents turned him around and tucked him back into bed, and, come morning, John didn't remember a thing. "We always set the alarm now -- not to prevent strangers from getting in but to alert us when our son sleepwalks out," Manzo says.
Parents often think kids' sleep problems are over once their babies slumber through the night, but at least a quarter of school-age children have nighttime troubles, says Gregory Stores, M.D., emeritus professor of developmental neuropsychiatry at Britain's University of Oxford. It's more than an issue of parent sanity -- when kids don't get the recommended nine or more hours (depending on their age) of shut-eye, they're not only tired, they can be cranky, wired, and aggressive. Worn-out kids also have a tougher time remembering facts, focusing, and solving problems. In fact, the ADHD-type behavior some kids exhibit may stem from chronic sleep deprivation, Dr. Stores says. Adequate slumber is also key if you want your basketball fiend to have the stature of LeBron James: Growth hormone is secreted mostly at night.
Read on for expert tips to stop common sleep stealers.