Alaska Sleep Education Center

Healthy Sleep for Children

Posted by ASC Pediatric Medical Director, Dr. Harry Yuan on Dec 17, 2019 11:19:00 AM

It is common knowledge that adequate, good-quality sleep is important in the development of children and translates to better quality of life for children of all ages. Yet, childhood insomnia is the most common sleep complaint from parents. Although certain sleep disorders may cause insomnia, the difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep may be due to poor sleep habits or sub-optimal sleep environment.

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Topics: Pediatrics, kids, parents

Don't Let a Weeknight Halloween Throw Off Your Sleep Routine

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Oct 29, 2019 3:00:00 PM

Every parent dreads it – too much candy, too much excitement and too little sleep- that’s Halloween! Many families find that one late night can cause their children to become overtired, leading to more night waking and early rising after the excitement of the big day has ended.

It is possible to have both a fun and well-rested Halloween! To make sure that both you and your child enjoy the holiday, here are a few tips:

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Topics: kids, losing sleep, sugar

Will Halloween Treats Wreck My Sleep – and My Kid’s Sleep?

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Oct 25, 2019 8:00:00 PM

Trick or treat, who wants to sleep? Mom and Dad do!

Halloween is almost here and the stores are loaded with sugary goodness – Snickers, Butterfingers, Reese’s – mmmm. While the little ghouls and goblins are prowling from door-to-door, what do you do? Dip into the pot and enjoy a few Milky Ways or Starbursts. With all that walking, you have to keep your blood sugar up, right?

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Topics: kids, holiday, candy

Wake Up to a Back-2-School Sleep Schedule

Posted by Dr. Michelle Karten on Aug 3, 2019 10:04:40 AM

It may be hard for kids everywhere to think about, but there aren’t many lazy days of summer vacation left. No doubt, with all the summer activities and getaways, your kids’ sleep schedules may have gone a bit haywire. But there’s still time to help get them on a back-to-school sleep schedule and practice some healthy sleep habits if you start, well, now.

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Topics: school, Pediatrics, kids, sleep schedules

School's Out for Summer!

Posted by Jennifer Hines on May 21, 2019 8:08:00 PM

You’ve probably heard of the “summer slide” in academic learning—the tendency for kids to fall behind in reading and math skills on summer vacation.

The summer sleep slide is real, too. Without the structure of school, kids tend to stay up later—sometimes much later—and not sleep in consistently enough to make up for it.

Rather than spend the summer catching up on sleep, kids can accumulate sleep debt that affects their health, mood, and ability to learn.

Most families try to balance the joy and freedom of long summer nights, with the reality of two little kids’ sizable sleep needs. We visit with friends, we go out for dinner or to play basketball in the evenings, and often bedtime is pushed back.

Here’s how we’re making sure that while our family is enjoying the lenient summer schedule, my kids are also getting the sleep they need.

Watch total sleep needs

Preschoolers need 11 - 13 hours of sleep and school age kids need 10.5 - 12 hours. If bedtime is sliding later over the summer, make sure your child is capable of either sleeping in (installing blackout curtains or shades helps enormously), or has the chance to nap.

My older child is able to sleep in to give himself the 11 hours of sleep he needs nightly. My preschooler has a built-in nap time so she always has the opportunity to sleep during the day if she needs it.

Keep sleep times consistent

Even if bedtimes are later over the summer, it still helps to keep them consistent. In our house, what was a 7:30 p.m. bedtime during the school year is often 8:30 p.m. in the summer. Consistent timing is powerful, because the internal clock (which affects health, mood, and cognition) works best with regularity. I

n fact, in a study of over 11,000 young kids researchers found that a regular bedtime—whether early or late—was linked to better math, reading, and spatial skills. Kids whose bedtimes moved around were more likely to have mood and behavior issues. Shifting bedtimes around is like giving a child a mini case of jet lag. An 8:30 p.m. bedtime every night is better than alternating between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Gradually shift for fall

It takes time to truly shift a person’s sleep schedule and kids may need a week or two to fully adjust back to their school times. You can start putting your child to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for a week to get to the optimal bedtime for school, and if you really want to harness the power of the internal clock, keep her on that bedtime for a week before school starts (and throughout the school year).

A good bedtime for a preschooler or school age child—especially considering early school start times—is 7:30 p.m.

While you’re making the shift, if your child has a hard time falling asleep at an earlier bedtime, wake her up in the morning 15 minutes earlier. This will affect the time she’s drowsy at night and help her shift to the earlier schedule.

Now she’s got her internal clock on her side and a full tank of sleep. She’s ready to get a jump on the new school year.

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Topics: kids, sleep deprivation, colic

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