Helping kids get enough sleep, even in summer

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Who couldn't use a little more sleep? But with the sun coming up earlier and the end of the school year approaching, it can be tough for kids and parents alike to get enough shut-eye.

Sleep expert Dr. Robert Rosenberg joined Yetta Gibson on Wednesday's Good Morning Arizona with some advice about how to keep your kids and the rest of the family on a good, regular sleep schedule, even in the summer.

He says children actually need more sleep than you might think. "One- to 3-year-olds need 12 hours of sleep, counting naps," says Rosenberg. Meantime, 3- to 5-year-olds need 11 hours. Kids age 5 through 9 need nine to 10 hours, and those age 10-17 need nine hours.

It's important to keep children of all ages on a regular sleep schedule. Missing that needed sleep can lead to insomnia or behavioral problems.

Children should learn to self soothe, and not get used to bring held or rocked. If they don't, you might expect to see problems later in life. "20 percent of children who had behavioral insomnia in childhood went on to continue to having trouble sleeping all the way to adulthood.

When it comes to keeping kids on a regular sleep schedule, even in the summer, Rosenberg advises not letting them have any caffeine after 6 p.m.  There shouldn't be any strenuous exercise several hours before bedtime. And your kids shouldn't be playing video games or watching TV an hour before lights out.

"As for bedtime, don't let it go much longer than an hour compared to the school year," he says.

Dr. Rosenberg also discussed other sleep disorders called "para-somnias" like sleep walking or eating while asleep. "That means undesirable behaviors or experiences occurring during sleep." Those who suffer from disorders like that often don't remember doing anything unusual during sleep.

For some people it's hereditary. It can also be caused by alcohol, sleep apnea, or medication.