Madison
27° F
Overcast
Overcast
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
  • Time for Kids - Explore the Outdoors

    Dean Clinic and WISC-TV3 are focusing on a year-long campaign to get kids off their electronics and into the outdoors.

  • Learn more about WISC-TV

    Meet the News 3 staff, learn about our newscasts, search our job postings and find out how to contact us.

  • Chopper in Janesville

    Chopper in Janesville

    Your pet photos

    Email us a picture of you and your pet and we'll use it in out Pet Walk segment which airs every weekday morning at 6:40. Include your name, your pet's name and where you're from. Email to petwalk@wisctv.com.

Advertisement