Kids – Making Sleep a Healthy Habit

Getting twins Ben and Hallie to sleep at night takes double the effort in the Moss household.

“They used to share rooms and when we moved into this house they’re separate which is a really good thing, because they were getting wound up at night,” says their mother, Lisa Moss.

Besides giving mom and dad a break, doctors now realize the importance of downtime to a child’s overall well-being.

“They really do need their sleep,” says Dr. Nancy Witham, who is a pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.

Children between 3 and 6 years old require 10-12 hours of sleep. Chronic shortages are linked to health issues with emerging research linking it to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“There’s certainly been a statistical correlation that overweight children are more likely to have less than what would be the optimal sleep time for their age,” says Dr. Witham.

Experts find most kids aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep; as many of 70% of youngsters are slipping up in the slumber department. A starting point is to set the stage for success with a nightly routine, starting up to an hour before bedtime.

“They each get to pick a story,” says Moss.

The Moss twins generally go down without a fight.

“We have a routine where we say prayers, we do hugs, kiss, high-five. Put the covers on and you know walk out,” says Moss.

A good night’s rest makes for calmer daytime behavior, even lessening issues with ADHD. Some studies connect optimal sleep times with higher IQs.

“We certainly do know that, that a long night’s sleep does help cognitive function and behavior,” says Dr. Witham.

So for many it reasons, it pays to make sleep a healthy habit.

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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.


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