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Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep? How to Tell and What to Do About It

Aug 17, 2007
In a nation of sleep deprived adults, it's no wonder that we're raising a generation of kids with sleep problems. Healthy sleep is especially essential for healthy development of the mind and body in kids and adolescents. During periods of sleep, the body builds its immune system, processes short term memories into long term memories, and also the time when children bodies do most of their growing. In many cases, sleep problems in children are cause by over stimulation in the environment whether from television, video games, conversations, or just general noises that can easily be blocked out by an inexpensive white noise machine.

Birth to Two Years
The average newborn sleeps approximately 16 hours throughout the day and seems to be able to sleep through anything. Newborns wake and sleep in short intervals and may not sleep through the night until they are 6 months of age. By two years of age, babies need an average of 12 hours of sleep per day with one or more naps and a long block of sleep during the night.

As babies get older they lose that wonderful ability to be able to fall asleep in the midst of noise and excitement and become distracted from sleep by the noises around them. If you're child is having difficulty falling asleep at naps or bedtime, try placing a white noise machine in the room to absorb the household sounds instead of allowing the upset child to stay awake until he or she gives in to exhaustion. The white noise machine generates a soothing sound, similar to that of a fan or ocean waves, that blocks out distracting household noises and allows baby to fall asleep naturally.

Ages 6 to 9 Years
It's recommended that children between the ages of 6 and 9 get around 11 hours of sleep each day. If a child needs to get up for school at 7am, he or she should have a bedtime of 8pm for a full night of healthy rest. However, children at this age are tempted with all sorts of distractions and become even more distracted by adults and older children who remain awake in the household.

A white noise machine is just as effective for a six year old as it is for a 6 month old - or even a 60 year old. Try placing a white noise machine in the room and enforcing a habit of solitary reading or other non-television based activity he or she naturally falls asleep. The white noise machine works by emitting every sound audible to the human ear simultaneously. Because of this, individual noises throughout the house such as voices or television sets are absorbed into the mix and dissipated much like one voice is indecipherable in a crowd.

Teenagers
Teenagers are perhaps the most sleep deprived members of our society. Kids in their teens should get about 9 hours of sleep each night, but the average American teen only gets around 6.5 hours a nightly sleep. Although they may feel like adults, their bodies are experiencing great growth spurts. Even if they feel tired, many teenagers will choose sleep deprivation over missing out on a conversation or activity with friends.

Teenagers can use a white noise machine for more than just sleep. Using a white noise machine during study times helps to block out distractions so that they can concentrate on their more complex homework, thus reducing the time it takes to complete. With more time and less stress, teenagers are more likely to get the necessary sleep that their bodies require for healthy growth. By running a white noise machine in a teenager's room during study time and at night, you both might be surprised at the changes that will ensue.

As a parent, it's important to enforce healthy sleep behavior to ensure the health and well-being of your child. Many parents realize that sleeping pills and other drugs are a terrible idea for children but aren't aware of other natural sleep therapy aids. There are a wide range of natural sleep aids available like white noise machines and relaxation CDs. A well-rested person is not only physically healthier, but able to learn better, handle stress better, and enjoy a happier, brighter life overall.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on white noise machines and natural sound machines be sure to visit www.SleepWellBaby.com.
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