School is right around the corner, and as families switch from the looser schedules of summer to the schedule-driven fall, sleep is a critical factor of that transition. ResMed (NYSE: RMD), an innovator and pioneer in developing solutions for treating sleep-disordered breathing and other respiratory conditions, offers tips for getting the whole family on a successful sleep schedule that will set them up for sound sleep in the year ahead, as well as a host of solutions for combating sleep issues.
"Bedtime is one of the first things to change as school starts, and one of the smartest things parents can do with the summer-to-fall sleep schedule transition is to follow a routine themselves," said Susie Justus, sleep coach and licensed vocational nurse for ResMed.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
The first step to setting a family sleep schedule is figuring out how much sleep each person needs for their age group. According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers ages 3-5 years old need 11-13 hours of sleep per night; school-aged children ages 5-10 years old need 10-11 hours of sleep per night; preteens and teens ages 10-17 need 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep per night; and adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Setting the Schedule
With long, lazy summer days, kids are used to staying up and sleeping in later—as are their parents. Here are some tips that can help smooth the transition into fall.
- Start early. Don't wait until the weekend before school starts to move up bedtime. Start two weeks early to ease everyone into the routine.
- Tell the summer sun goodnight. At the beginning of the school year, the days are still long: To counter this, create cozy sleeping spaces for the whole family using blackout shades. White noise in the form of fans can also help encourage rest by blocking distractions and keeping warm rooms closer to the ideal sleeping temperature of 65-72 degrees.
- Set and enforce a bedtime ritual for everyone. Universally turn off screens an hour before bedtime—that means you, too, Mom and Dad—and establish wind-down plans that work.
- Promote days that will promote sleep. Welcome the sun in the morning by pulling back drapes or enjoying breakfast outside. Exercise, limit excessive caffeine intake and avoid daytime naps. Don't go to bed too hungry or too full, as that can disrupt sleep.
Barrier to the Schedule: Sleep Apnea in Adults and Children
Sometimes, even the best-laid sleep schedule plans fail because of disrupted sleep. One of the reasons people don't wake feeling rested and refreshed is that they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that can affect anyone – fit or overweight, child or adult.
Some of the symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, lack of energy, morning headaches, high blood pressure, and depression. Left untreated, sleep apnea can also have long-term negative effects on a person's heart, metabolism and overall health.
Moms and Sleep Apnea
Approximately 15 million American women have sleep apnea, and it can affect women at any age, with or without any other contributing conditions such as heart disease, obesity or diabetes. However, effective treatment can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and other comorbidities. Here are some facts about women and sleep apnea:
- Almost 40% of newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients are women
- Sleep apnea is related to a higher risk of depression and cognitive impairment or dementia in women
- Snoring during pregnancy may be an indication of developing sleep apnea
- Insomnia and morning headaches are often the main indicators of sleep apnea in women
- Women who snore are about twice as likely to have high blood pressure
ResMed offers solutions for continuous positive airway pressure therapy (often called CPAP), specifically designed for women. CPAP is generally regarded as the gold standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, and ResMed's CPAP masks have flexible headgear, minimal frame width and smaller sizes to accommodate women's facial proportions.
Kids and Sleep Apnea
A National Sleep Foundation poll found that more than two out of every three children ages 10 and under have experienced some type of sleep problem. And Northwestern University Medical Center found that less sleep at night for kids means more behavioral problems during the day.
Snoring is a symptom in children with obstructive sleep apnea—but it's also a symptom of just being a kid, which makes pediatric apnea tough to diagnose. Some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight
- Mouth breathing
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Problems sleeping and restless sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Daytime cognitive and behavioral problems
As the first company to offer a pediatric mask cleared by the FDA for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in children, ResMed offers multiple choices to meet a range of pediatric sleep disordered-breathing needs. The Pixi™ mask designed for children 2 years and older also comes with a free downloadable storybook, "The Magical Mask," which helps ease children into the idea of CPAP therapy.
If you think you or someone in your family might have sleep apnea, it's important that you talk to a doctor or healthcare professional. For more information, or to take a short sleep quiz.