The Behavioral Effects of Sleep Deprivation in Children

Beyond Time Out From Chaos to Calm pic
Beyond Time Out From Chaos to Calm

A licensed clinical psychologist with over two decades of experience in working with families, Dr. Beth Grosshans is the author of Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm. Published in 2008, the book serves as a guide for parents to take back their power in the parent-child relationship to help eliminate problematic behaviors. One issue that Dr. Beth Grosshans addresses in the book is sleep deprivation, which can greatly affect a child’s behavior.

Sufficient sleep is vital for people of all ages, but children need far more sleep than adults because their bodies are growing and their brains are maturing. Studies reveal that children who miss out on just 30 to 60 minutes of their necessary nightly sleep time can exhibit behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, moodiness, and irritability. They can also have difficulties concentrating and paying attention in school.

Parents often find that enforcing bedtimes can minimize a number of behavior and discipline problems both at home and at school, and they can consult with their children’s pediatrician to find out how many hours of sleep are appropriate. Generally speaking, if the child has trouble waking up in the morning or feels sleepy during the day, he or she needs more sleep. The same holds true for children who sleep more on weekends and holidays in an attempt to “catch up.” A bit of trial and error, as well as observing positive changes in behavior and moods along the way, can help parents find the magic number of sleep hours required, which will change as the child grows and matures.


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