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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 10/06/08

Why is sleep so important for my child?

As humans, we spend around one third of our lives sleeping. During our waking hours, our nerve cells are constantly active and become more or less fatigued. Sleep gives the body cells an opportunity of ridding themselves of waste and of repairing themselves. To insure a recovery period from such fatigue, we undergo the periodic loss of consciousness known as sleep. Sleep is such an important bodily function, and even though we might put off going to sleep, eventually sleep will take over.

Sleep is an important part of good health. It plays a role in every part of a child's development – physical, cognitive, social and emotional. However, it is easily overlooked. You may naturally assume your child is getting enough sleep because you are. Children need many more hours of sleep than adults do. Without enough sleep, children can be grouchy, teary, accident prone, aggressive or not be able to focus or learn and even fall asleep while at childcare or in school. Surveys show that most high school students get less than eight hours of sleep on school nights and one-third get less than seven. Those who get enough sleep do better in school, and vice-versa. Students who get less sleep are not only much more likely to fall asleep or daydream in class and to have difficulty paying attention, they are also much more likely to get poor grades and more likely to consider dropping out of school.

In the Jewish Community

Jewish children need sleep as all children do. Although some Ultra-Orthodox communities lack televisions, computers, and other media sources that contribute to sleep-deprivation in children, kids from these communities are not excluded from the numbers of children and teens that do not get enough sleep. Although it may be tempting for parents to allow their children to come to late night weddings or stay up for a Friday or holiday night meal, they must realize that they it will be at their child’s expense. A well-rested child is a child who can succeed.

Use the following links to learn more about sleep. Educate yourself about your child’s sleeping patterns and figure out how much sleep your child needs.

Frequently Asked Links

Why do kids need sleep? more more more

How does sleeping work?

How much sleep does my child need?

Do kids usually get enough sleep?

What happens when a person does not get enough sleep?

Can lack of sleep cause weight problems?

How can I establish a bedtime routine for my pre-schooler?

How can I help my child develop good sleeping habits?

How much sleep do teens need?

Is it ok to sleep less on weekdays and more on weekends?

Is it possible to get too much sleep?

What are some common sleep problems?

What should my child do if he cannot fall asleep?

What are nightmares?

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Caffeine has probably helped you through long nights of studying or filling out college applications. But how much do you know about caffeine and its side effects?

Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)
Bedwetting can be embarrassing and upsetting for teens, but there are effective ways to correct the problem and scientists are constantly developing new treatments.

Bedwetting is an issue that millions of families face every night. Most of the time it is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues and kids eventually grow out of it.

Lots of kids wet the bed. Find out more in this article for kids.

Sleep and Newborns
"Does your baby sleep through the night?" is one of the questions new parents hear the most. And almost always the answer is "No."

Everyone has brief pauses in breathing called apnea - even your child. Usually these brief stops in breathing are completely normal. Sometimes, though, apnea or other sleep-related problems can be a cause for concern.

Have you ever walked in your sleep? If so, you are not alone. Check out this article to find out more.

Are you a kid who snores? Find out why some people are such noisy sleepers in this article for kids.

Why Do I Yawn?
If you yawn in class, you will probably notice a few other people will start yawning, too. Why is that?


Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
AASM strives to increase awareness of sleep disorders in public and professional communities.

American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA)
The ASAA is dedicated to reducing injury, disability, and death from sleep apnea and to enhancing the well-being of those affected by this common disorder.

International Association for the Study of Dreams
This organization promotes the study of dreams and the significance, nature, and function of dreaming.

National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
NSF is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

Sleep for Kids

A website that is devoted to teaching kids the importance of sleep.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.


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