Treating ADHD / Fastbraiin is extremely complex. To properly treat it, several variables must be explored. This includes their learning style, diet, exercise, behavior, home environment, rest, and certainly sleep and sleep habits. You may be surprised to find sleep on this list. But as it turns out, sleep disturbances and disorders are endemic among children and adolescents around the globe. Sleep may in fact be the sleeping giant no one is focusing on, and the underlying cause to a host of symptoms.
Why does sleep matter so much?
Sleep matters because the body was created and functions in a way that demands it. Sleep is the human body’s way of recharging and refueling, as well as growing and developing. When sleep is out of order, chaotic, and lacking, the body itself becomes out of order, chaotic, and lacking. Baseline daily functioning demands good sleep, not to mention high level functioning. We can’t expect kids to behave properly and learn effectively when they are sleep deprived. Parents of ADHD kids need to pay especially close attention to their children’s sleep habits, because ADHD / FastBraiin kids are the ones who are at most risk to experience side-effects of sleep deprivation.
There is even greater cause for alarm, because we are now, everyone included, experiencing a modern swing in sleep deprivation. The duration of sleep for children around the world has been declining over the last hundred years. Today’s children sleep one hour less per day than their counterparts just 50 years ago (Mattricciani, Olds & Petkov, 2012). That’s 350 hours less of sleep a year. We understand that a typical school-aged child of 6-10 years needs around 10 hours of sleep per night. When looking at the older kids, sixty-eight percent of adolescents reported inadequate duration of sleep in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (McKnight-Eily, 2011, pp. 271). We might feel like things are more productive when we or our kids get less sleep, but maybe we need to think again.
What happens when we do not respect the body’s need for sleep?
Sleep deprivation can play itself out in several alarming ways. Ten of these include:
2. Reduced cognitive function
3. Behavior problems
5. Progressive psychopathology
6. Weak Emotional regulation
7. Cardiac disorders
8. Immune disorders
9. Accidental injury
10. Increase of risk behavior and substance abuse.
*1-8 (Matricciani, 2012), 9-10 (Mindell, 2011)
Is your child at risk? Considering the seriousness of these problems, we cannot turn a blind eye to our children and their sleep cycles. It is our responsibility to be monitoring their sleep and doing all we can to encourage more of it.
The first thing we need to do is become aware that sleep is a problem. Next we need to walk down a road of diagnosing and fixing the problem. What is causing the lack of sleep? What are the underlying issues that may be influencing your child’s sleep?
It can be hard work to figure this out, but the good news is that sleep deprivation is always linked to a cause, and that means that we can find the cause, and hopefully address it. When the cause is identified and the right changes are made, the body may respond wonderfully. We want to help you identify it and get some rest, physically and emotionally. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep, for you and for the family. FastBraiin will help you create a plan.
Three simple tips to increase sleep
1. Avoid screen-time after dinner. Studies indicate that even a glance at an iPhone can disrupt melatonin production for up to 4 hours. For more on sleep and screen-time, please checkout this video/blog
2. Avoid naps. Encourage sleep to take place at night.
3. Implement a pre-sleep ritual. This will cue the body and mind that it is time for sleep. This ritual can include activities like reading books or playing board games.
Matricciani, L., Olds, T., & Petkov, J. (2012). In search of lost sleep: Secular trends in the sleep time of school-aged children and adolescents. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 16, 203-211. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.03.005
McKnight-Eily, L., Eaton, D., Lowry, R., Croft, J., Presley-Cantrell, L., & Perry, G. (2011). Relationship between hours of sleep and health-risk behaviors in United States adolescents. Preventative Medicine, 53, 271-273. Doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.06.020
Mindell, J., Meltzer, L., Carskadon, M., & Chervin, R. (2009). Developmental aspects of sleep hygiene: Findings from the 2004 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll. Sleep Medicine, 10, 771-779. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.07.016