Monday, September 21, 2009

News Flash: Vigorous activity helps kids sleep

To say my son is active is an understatement. He is constantly charged. I called him “rambunctious” this weekend – much to my MIL’s dismay. That was after a stack of pancakes with syrup, two doughnuts, and a slice of cinnamon roll cake. (We were at the grandparents.) He was confined to the house, somewhat, because of the constant rain we’ve been having, but he made due tossing packing peanuts about like snowflakes, tumbling over furniture, and dancing in the rain. When we packed up the car and left for home that evening, my son took his first nap in months.

beautiful sleep2I have always been a believer in wearing kids out for the benefit of a swift and peaceful bedtime. Now a University of Ackland, New Zealand, study shows that there is some truth to that belief. The study’s lead author, Dr. Ed A. Mitchell, looked at 591 seven-year-olds and found that kids who spent more time in sedentary activities took longer to fall asleep after they went to bed. The study also showed that one in six parents of school-aged kids say their children have trouble falling to sleep at night.

Most children take about 26 minutes to fall asleep once they hit the bed at night. If the child has been active during the day, the less time it takes for him to nod off. As much as one hour of vigorous activity can shave as much as 6 minutes off a kid’s fall-asleep time. The study also showed that children who fall asleep faster tend to stay asleep longer.

Ingenious? Maybe. But I’ve found if my son goes to bed too exhausted he tends to wake up more during the night and sometimes has frightening night terrors.

Source, ABC News
Photo, JWJourney

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