Feeling Anxious About Your Child’s Health this School Year?

As we grapple with what school is going to look like in the fall, whether virtual, hybrid, or in person, many parents are experiencing anxiety and worry for their children. It’s hard enough getting back into a scheduled routine at the start of a typical school year, but adding additional COVID measures into the mix makes it even more difficult.

Young boy in front of computer on video call

Did you know that a proper sleep hygiene routine and correctly breathing through the nose may be able to alleviate anxiety and improve overall health? Lack of quality sleep and mouth breathing can result in a weakened immune system, lack of focus, and delayed growth and development. 

Local sleep expert, Dr. Ryan Robinson who is Triple Board Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain is passionate about educating parents on the importance of sleep, especially in our pediatric population. He says “Many parents don’t know what to look for and things that appear to be normal are in fact big red flags that something is wrong!”

“When kids are growing, their bones lengthen at nighttime. A lot of growth and development occurs during sleep. As we prepare for the school year, it is important to get our kids back into the academic learning mode so they can maximize their education and development.”

Dr. Robinson states “Getting their sleep schedules back on track and helping them get deep, quality sleep is something we all should be focused on right now! One of the best ways to make sure kids are getting enough sleep at night is to maintain a consistent schedule”

A lot of parents are realizing they need to get their kids back on track with a new sleep routine as soon as possible, but the reality is, if a child has been staying up late and sleeping in then you need to gradually correct the sleep schedule.  You can start by moving bedtime back an hour a night until they are back to where you want them to be. Ideally, you want to have them back to their healthy sleep schedule 4-5 days before school starts. Kids should get up to 12 hours of sleep each night, and adults and teens should get about 7-9. A full night of quality sleep is crucial for kids staying healthy and learning in school.

Docs Top Tips

  1. Watch how your children breathe and sleep. I especially advise parents to watch for their child sleeping with open mouths. Breathing through the mouth at night gives the child 20 percent less oxygen than breathing regularly. Plus children who snore are known to have lower IQs. Nasal breathing promotes overall health as you are breathing clean filtered air not dirty air through the mouth.
  2. Electronics should be turned off one hour before bed. That includes tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
  3. Create a sleep environment that is dark and cool, somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees.
  4. Exercise is important throughout the day but not right before bed. When they’re active right before bed, their heart rate will be elevated
  5. All food and beverages should be done by 7pm, and parents should avoid feeding their kids heavy and fried foods.
Two children playing on window sills

Dr. Robinson states “If you do see that your child waking up a lot at night, sleeping with their mouth open and breathing through their mouth at night, waking up to use the restroom or wetting the bed… those are all very prominent factors that disrupt a child’s sleep. Although they may be in bed the entire night, if they’re having fragmented sleep… those are all issues that will manifest during the day.”

“Some of those issues may look like symptoms of ADHD, with children becoming hyperactive, aggressive or have learning problems in school. Lack of sleep can also lead to a heightened risk of health issues later in life.”

If you are following these tips and your child is not getting rested sleep or exhibits warning symptoms, visit www.painandsleepcenter.com or call 302-239-1757 to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Ryan Robinson
Contact Dr. Robinson at: DrRobinson@PainAndSleepCenter.com

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