ADHD or Lack of Sleep?

Some kids have ADHD. Some kids act like they have ADHD but they don’t really have it. What’s going on? Could be that these kids simply aren’t getting enough sleep!

Lack of sleep is so common and so serious now that teachers report kids in their classes falling asleep at school!  How can your child learn math if they just fell asleep while the teacher was explaining how to do long division?

Motivation, alertness, and memory are three of the most important factors that help kids learn, get good grades and high test scores. If your child is sleepy at school, their motivation, alertness and memory are pretty low.  Lack of sleep from pre-school through college is at epidemic levels.

Researchers are reporting that the average child is getting at least one hour less sleep than five years ago. And even one hour less can affect motivation, alertness, and memory.

You know this for yourself? How do you feel at work when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? It’s the same with kids.

In general a child from 1-3 years old need up to 14 hours a sleep; 3-6 years old, 10-12 hours; 7-12 years old, 10-11 hours; and 12-18 years old, 8-9 hours.

Follow these seven suggestions and you’ll have your kids back on track with sleep:

1.      Keep TV’s out of bedrooms. Even if your child falls asleep in the middle of a program, just having the TV on affects the quality of sleep.

2.      Turn off cell phones and any other gadgets that connect your kids to other kids are turned off and put somewhere other than the bedroom when it’s time for bed.

3.      Stop the running around, rough housing, screaming, yelling, fast-paced TV shows, or anything that’s active or exciting before bed.

4.      Read a quiet story aloud to little kids. Not only is it calming, research has shown that helps prepare kids for learning to read.

5.      Avoid heavy meals, lots of snacks, and candy before bed. Schedule dinner at least a couple hours before bedtime.

6.      Establish strict boundaries for your children about when to go to bed and stick to it. You’re the parent. You get to make these decisions!

7.      Try this Smart Brain Game™ right before bed. While your child is lying in bed, have them cross their legs at their ankles, then cross their arms at their chest while placing their hands on their shoulders. Just like giving themselves a hug.

Now have them take several very deep breaths. You can lie on their bed and do this with them. Ask them to see if they can match your long, slow deep breathing.

Once your kids start getting more sleep, you may be happily surprised that those symptoms you thought were ADHD have disappeared.

Let us know how you manage bedtime and your kids getting enough sleep. We love to get your comments.

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About Dr. MaryJo Wagner

MaryJo Wagner, PhD, helps you help your kids transform ADHD behavior for success. Sign up at Coaching & Accountability to get your questions answered with a complimentary Transformation Session.

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