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What happens when school kids don’t get enough quality sleep?

Don't think kids need sleep? Think again, and don't wait too long to do something about their sleep loss

Some temporary symptoms or behaviors of sleep deprivation, if not addressed by getting more and better sleep, can become long-term problems as well. In addition, more systemic medical concerns can and will arise if you don’t address your child’s sleep loss.

What happens when school kids don’t get enough quality sleep?

Sleep deprivation and kids: immediate or short-term problems

Here are some symptoms or behaviors of sleep deprivation that you might notice this fall as your kids head back to school. A temporary problem with sleep deprivation is not the end of the world and somewhat expected as kids make the change back to a structured schedule. Sleep quality and quantity during this transition may be affected; expect a couple of weeks of adjustment time to take place before your kids are back in their “groove.”

  • impaired learning (problems with focus, concentration, following directions, reading comprehension, and memory)
  • poor test and in-class performance (inability to maintain attention, daytime sleepiness, distractibility)
  • increased risk for injuries due to compromised physical performance (poor physical risk assessment, reckless play, compromised judgment)
  • emotional and mood problems (irritability, lassitude, depression, anxiety, tantrums)
  • a compelling need to nap during the day (elementary school age and older)
  • disinterest in or avoidance of normal physical activity due to fatigue
  • reliance on caffeinated products or high-calorie intake (craving carbs, fats, junk food, fast food) for energy
  • hyperactive behaviors that mimic ADD-ADHD
  • inability to manage stressful situations

Sleep deprivation and kids: long-term problems

Some temporary symptoms or behaviors of sleep deprivation, if not addressed by getting more and better sleep, can become long-term problems as well. In addition, more systemic medical concerns can and will arise if you don’t address your child’s sleep loss. These chronic issues may end up being lifelong and stubborn, so don’t hesitate to get help as soon as you notice signs of long-term sleep deprivation (sleep debt).

 

What happens when school kids don’t get enough quality sleep?

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