10 Ways Being Tired Hurts Children
(page 1 of 3)
First, the bad news: Your seemingly healthy child may be harboring a serious health problem. Left unchecked, this highly common condition can contribute to weight gain and hinder school success. When your child is irritable, inattentive or sullen, this often overlooked ailment may be to blame.
The condition is chronic overtiredness, and doctors say it’s rampant among modern kids. But there’s good news: Overtiredness can be prevented. The more you know about how it affects children, the better you’ll be able to spot it and stop this health saboteur in its tracks.
1. Tricky tots
Don’t assume that you know when your child is overtired. Kids who need sleep often appear anything but sleepy. That means your child’s late-night burst of energy is actually a sign of sleepiness, despite appearances to the contrary.
2. School struggles
Want your child to ace that big exam? Make sure he hits the sack early because sleepiness can sabotage school success. The National Sleep Foundation reports that sleep deprivation in children is associated with poor school performance and lowered test scores.
3. Weighty matters
Chronic overtiredness can pack on the pounds and make it difficult for children to maintain a healthy weight. According to the journal Sleep, reduced REM sleep is associated with excess body weight in both kids and teens.
4. Diabetes danger
Kids who don’t sleep enough have an increased risk of diabetes. Multiple studies link insufficient sleep to increased diabetes risk, and new research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that just one night of sleep deprivation can bring on insulin resistance, a factor in type 2 diabetes.
5. Too tired & wired
It’s counterintuitive, but overtiredness makes sleep more difficult. Depriving kids of naps or encouraging too-late bedtimes to help kids sleep better at night often backfires. When kids are awake too long, an over- balance of adrenaline makes it difficult for them to reach and maintain deep, restorative sleep.
See page 2 for five more ways overtiredness can harm children.