Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Lost Hour

I recently read a book called Nurture Shock & it was very interesting. It definitely changed my thinking on some things, and some things I am not so sure I agree with. I won’t say that I 100% recommend this book; however, there was one chapter that was SPOT ON and I wanted to share.

I am HARD CORE about Jase’s sleep schedule. We rarely, rarely miss naps and I am very strict about his bedtime. I think everyone has come to grips with it now, but I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to others and they think I am too intense. I am not so sure everyone really understands why I refuse to ‘bend’ at all when it comes to his sleep, but that’s where I just have to make the choice to do what’s best for him rather than please others. (And why I plan to continue to be as strict as he gets older and we add to our family.) No, it’s not easy to have to plan around his nap time. And no, it’s not always convenient to have to stay home or rush when we are out. But I also feel it’s extremely important toward his overall health & well-being, and as a parent, it is my responsibility to ensure I protect that time for him as much as possible.

My favorite chapter of the book was called “The Lost Hour.” Reading the science behind how sleep affects babies, children, and even teenagers on so many levels completely validates how important it is to make sure our children are getting enough.

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There are several really interesting studies described through the chapter, but I wanted to include a few of my favorite quotes:

  • “According to surveys by the national sleep foundation, 90% of American parents think their child is getting enough sleep.”
  • “The kids themselves say otherwise.: 60% of high schoolers report extreme daytime sleepiness. The raw numbers more than back them up. Half of all adolescents get less than 7 hours of sleep on week nights. By the time they are seniors in high school, they’re averaging only slightly more than 6.5 hours f sleep at night.”
  • “It is an overlooked fact that children- from elementary school through high school- get an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago.”
  • “There are many causes for this lost hour of sleep as there are types of family. Overscheduling of activities, burdensome homework, lax bedtimes, televisions and cell phones in the bedroom- they all contribute.”
  • “Until now, we could ignore the lost hour because we never really knew its true cost to children. Using newly developed technological and statistical tools, sleep scientists have recently been able to isolate and measure the impact of the single lost hour. Because children’s brains are a work of progress until the age of 21, and because much of the work is done while a child is asleep, this lost hour appears to have an exponential impact on children that it simply doesn’t on adults.”
  • “The surprise is not merely that sleep matters- but how much it matters, demonstrably, not just to academic performance and emotional stability, but to phenomena that we assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of ADHD. A few scientists theorize that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in a child’s brain structure.”
  • “It’s even possible that many of the hallmark characteristics of being a tweener or teen- moodiness, depression, and even binge eating- are actually just symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation.”
  • “Five years ago, already aware of an association between sleep apnea and diabetes, Dr. Eve Van Cauter discovered a “neuroendocrine cascade” which links sleep to obesity. On average, children who sleep less are heavier than children who sleep more.” Studies from Japan, Canada, and Australia “showed that those kids who get less than eight hours of sleep have about 300% higher rate of obesity than those who get a full ten hours of sleep.”
  • “Among middle schoolers and high schoolers, the odds of obesity went up 80% for each hour of lost sleep.”
  • “Would you let your daughter ride in the car without a seatbelt? You have to think of sleep the same way.”


Source: Po Bronson; Ashley Merryman, New York : Twelve, 2011, ©2009.


Christi said...

my kids' dr is huge about two things:their sleep and wearing helmets!
I was very scheduled/strict about bedtimes and naptimes with my first two. it was more difficult with the third due to my oldest child's school schedule. :( and you know what, she's a more difficult child. by that I don't mean bad but I can tell when she's tired and it isn't pretty. of course, they are now older and it's summer vacation so ivebeen more laid back (not when they were little). sleep is important, and electronics and phones are not permitted in our kids' room.

Unknown said...

I'm strict about my babies afternoon nap and bedtime. The morning naps have some flex in them but afternoon is important. I've started telling anyone that wants to visit an earlier bedtime so that they are actually gone by the time he needs to go to bed. When sleep is off both of us are miserable! Sunday mornings are the hardest and I'm not sure when we will ever get back to small group. Just not willing to drag him out in the evenings and we do not live near family to help watch him.

Jenn @ Bliss to Bean said...

I love this. I admit I am not super strict all of the time, but I really do try to stick to a schedule the majority of the week. It gets tricky as she gets older because she won't go down for two naps, but I swear some days she needs two!! Growing is a lot of work and the more sleep she gets, the happier she is for sure! (me too for that matter!) Thanks for sharing!