Tiredness

This information is purely to allow a reader to identify or empathise with tiredness symptoms they may want to know a little more about.  It is not intended to replace a consultation with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.

School-aged children still need somewhere between 9 and 12 hours of sleep at night. At this age, they usually start a trend towards becoming more and more sleep deprived.

A child is getting is getting the right amount of sleep if they:

  • Can fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Can wake up easily at the time they need to get up and don't need continual chasing.
  • Are awake and alert all day and don't need a nap during the day.
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Unfortunately, not getting a good night’s sleep can affect a child’s mood and behaviour during the day, leading to school and discipline problems. Sleeping studies have showed that less sleep at night means more behavioural problems during the day, poor sleep in children with bad grades in classes such as maths, reading and writing and some studies show that sleep disturbed children have more depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders.

Symptoms can include:

  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • hyperactivity
  • depression
  • aggression
  • a decreased attention span
  • memory problems

Sleep problems can be classified into two major categories, within which there are over 30 types. The first is excessive sleepiness or difficulty in maintaining or initiating sleep. In children, signs may include:

  • Snoring and/or obstructive breathing, excessive sleeping and falling asleep unexpectedly.
  • Inadequate sleep hygiene, sleep time routine, food sensitivities.
  • Circadian-rhythm sleep disorders, such as jet lag and irregular sleep wake pattern.
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The second category may include:

  • Arousal such as sleepwalking, night terrors.
  • Sleep talking, sleep starts (muscular jerks), leg cramps, body rocking or head banging.
  • REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, such as nightmares.
  • Other conditions, such as sleep bedwetting.

If your child is having difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep or has early morning waking, here are things you can do:

  • Try to identify and address stressors. For example, additional homework, problems with friends, or a move to a new house or school, can cause night-time anxiety.
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine that allows your child time to relax before the lights go out.

If your child is showing signs of extreme tiredness, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other suitably qualified professional.

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