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Published on October 3, 2018

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need for a Productive Day?

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need for a Productive Day?

The age old question of any parent with children—how much sleep do kids need?

Have you asked this yourself, or been told a whole range of answers that left you more confused than before? Sleep is vital; Not only to our health but also due to the impact our sleep quality and duration has on our ability to move through our daily lives with energy and clarity.

When it comes to growing children, it’s even more important to know how much sleep is right for them. Children do a massive amount of developing in their sleep, babies especially, and since the daily routine of a child is incredibly active—learning about the world in an intense way—rest for them is necessary to productively move throughout their day.[1]

The energetic growing and learning needs of each child of any age varies considerably. From infants and toddlers, to early and middle school age, all the way up to late teens, the amount of sleep needed for each age range is different.

One of the biggest changes that happen during sleep is that our body undergoes big transformation. Speaking to body composition experts, they say that our cells are replenishing and rebuilding in our sleep, our internal organs are doing their work to metabolize energy, detox and absorb what we’ve eaten and how we’ve moved during the day.[2]

Beyond this, kids experience a whole other level of body transformation as they are literally growing new tissue and muscle fibers, their bones are changing and forming, and their brains evolve during these rest periods. Anyone who has had seen a baby grow knows that every day they look a little different, their body transformation is so fast!

Let’s look at the different stages of development, and the recommended amount of sleep by experts. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic, the different stages of child development require the following amount of sleep time in the space of 24 hours.[3] [4] [5]

Newborns

We all know that babies sleep most of the time. But why?

Since they’re newborns, they haven’t formed their own biological clock, or circadian rhythm, to signal when evening and daytime is. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for newborns:

1 week: 16-17 hours

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1-4 months: 14-16 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 11 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of a newborn.

Infants

This is when the babies are able to sleep for longer periods of time, rather than waking constantly. Though any parent will know that general sleep rhythms are not going to be the same for every baby. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for infants:

4-12 months: 12-16 hours, with very regular naps.

Not recommended: Sleep less than 10 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of infants.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

At this stage, kids are getting more active which means the sleeping schedule is even more important. This is a time of big learning, with talking and interacting in a more social way, they need to have enough rest hours, with long sleeps at night and 2 naps per day, to get enough restoration to be productive in this stage of life.

Below are the recommended hours of sleep for toddlers and preschoolers:

1-2 years: 12-14 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 10 hours or more than 16 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of toddlers.

3-5 years: 11-13 hours

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Not recommended: Sleep less than 9 hours or more than 14 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of preschoolers.

Grade Schoolers

They will probably start to bargain about staying up a little later now as they grow, though it’s still essential to give your child a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for grade schoolers:

6-12 years: 9-12 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 8 hours can affect the quality of grade schooler’s productivity and learning.

Teens and Young Adults

At this age, kids are still growing and developing, especially male young adults, even up to 25 years of age. As these stage, they are also still in quite intensive schooling, don’t underestimate their sleep needs.5 Below are the recommended hours of sleep for teens and young adults:

13-18 years: 8-10 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 7 hours can affect the quality of a teen’s productivity and learning.

18-25 years: 8-9 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 6 hours can affect the quality of a young adults productivity and learning.

Healthy Sleep Habits for You and Your Kids

Since working adults generally average about five to six hours of sleep, these numbers may seem astounding. Children really do thrive when they have a regular bedtime ritual and sleep schedule, and even though we can survive the day without enough sleep, for our kids, it affects their ability to learn and interact.

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Plus, we may think we are fine with little sleep but how much coffee do you have before you feel ready and energized? Or how often do you wake up and wish you had longer to sleep in?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some healthy habits for an effective sleep ritual:

Set an example

Your children constantly learn from your actions. Be their role model and show them good bedtime and morning habits.

Asking how how they slept in the morning is also a good way to express how important sleep is, and that a good sleep is a good thing.

Keep a regular routine

This applies for waking, meal, nap, play and sleep time. Your child will feel relaxed and comfortable with a consistent bedtime routine where they know what to expect. Especially around bedtime, do the same routine, whether that’s a bath, story or family time.

Try to stick to the same sleep and waking times as much as possible.

Get active with your child

Throughout the day, help them use their bounding energy by being active with your kids.

Play outside, go for walks, keep it varied and most importantly, have fun! This will also help burn out their youthful energy so they are ready to sleep when it’s time.

Strict screen time

Limit all screen time

, including computers, TVs, laptops, tablets and phones out of children’s bedroom at all times if possible, or at the very least, in the evening.

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This way, the blue light exposure (which creates an awakened and energized body response) does not interrupt their sleep, turn of all screens at least an hour before sleep.

Let them have that extra 5 minutes of sleep

Ever get frustrated with the amount of time your teenager spends in bed? Maybe the word ‘lazy’ has crossed our mind or lips. High school age teens do still need a lot of sleep.

Generally, their energy usage is very high physically and mentally with their school, social and activity schedules, and they are still growing. Know that they need more sleep than you, and it could help to relax a little more about their difficulty waking up or their love of sleeping in.

Be mindful of their out-of-school activities

As parents, it’s your job to be aware of how active your children are, especially with afternoon and evening sports, lessons and play dates.

Too much activity can present a challenge for their sleep if not enough time is spent winding down at the end of the day .

Conclusion

Kids at different age have different needs, so they may not be needing the same hours of sleep as they grow up.

But no matter how long they need to sleep, it’s important to keep sleeping a regular routine for both kids and parents. Kids learn from their parents and if parents aren’t sleeping till late night, kids will also stay out late because they simply look up to their parents.

Featured photo credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep do Babies and Kids Need
[2] Ultimate Performance: Body Transformation
[3] Healthy Children: Healthy Sleep Habits
[4] WebMD: How Much Sleep Do Children Need
[5] NHS: How Much Sleep Do Kids Need

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Jane Dizon

Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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