Madison
66° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
Advertisement

Outdoor play time can enhance children's sleep

Published On: Dec 19 2011 02:47:51 PM CST
Updated On: Jul 26 2013 03:03:58 PM CDT
kids

iStock / mashabuba

(NewsUSA) - Parents are hearing a lot these days about the hazards of today's "indoor childhood," with kids spending countless hours on electronic media. But one consequence may be going undetected. National Wildlife Federation's new parent guide highlights the connection between the time kids spend playing outdoors and sleep deprivation.

According to NWF Guide, young children and teens are losing anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of sleep a week. Sleep deprivation can stunt physical growth, impede performance at school, lead to anxiety or depression and contribute to future health problems like obesity. Making matters worse, children are generally bad judges of the amount of sleep they really need.

Outdoor time improves a child's sleep in three critical ways. Natural light from the sun regulates the body's internal "sleep clock," which makes children more alert during the day, and tired at night. Research also demonstrates that natural, green settings are relaxing and calming for children, and yield other cognitive benefits. Lastly, outside exercise develops better motor skills and encourages creativity.

"While there is no single solution to childhood sleep deprivation, part of having a well-rested child involves trading some screen time for green time," says Kevin Coyle, NWF vice president of education and training, and author of NWF Guide. "More play time in natural settings can help kids get a high-quality night's sleep."

To foster awareness and healthier amounts of pillow time, the NWF guide "Green Time for Sleep Time" offers parents helpful advice about improving sleeping habits by exposing children to more outdoor play time every day.

NWF's parents guide advocates trimming down children's consumption of electronic entertainment and balancing it with some outdoor play time every day. It's also important to disengage kids from their tech devices at least an hour before bedtime so they can settle down and be ready for the sand man to arrive.

Advertisement
  • Lethal injection

    Reuters

    History of the death penalty in America

    The alleged botched execution of Arizona prison inmate Joseph Wood has put capital punishment -- specifically, the manner in which criminals are executed -- back in the spotlight. Take a look at the history of the death penalty in America.

  • Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

    REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

    Reasons why Pope Francis is cool

    Pope Francis is coming to the U.S. in Sept., to head the eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Take a look at the many reasons why Pope Francis is cool.

  • smile

    istock

    Happiest/unhappiest U.S. cities

    It seems that residents of Louisiana are some of the happiest people in the country, and New Yorkers remain some of the unhappiest, according to a new report. Take a look at the happiest - and unhappiest - U.S. cities.

Advertisement