In my home state of Massachusetts, there is a statewide test that all children must pass to graduate from high school. When children from a school that has ranked in the top tier every year were interviewed, I was struck by how much their teachers encouraged them to sleep. I had expected the children to report that they studied hard, but I was wrong. Instead, they said they were given little homework but were encouraged to sleep ten to twelve hours a night. The moral of this story is that the importance of sleep should never be underestimated.
Sleep problems take various forms depending on the age of the child. Most parents know when their children are having sleep prob-lems—particularly when the children have difficulty falling asleep or are getting up at night. Another sign of sleep disturbance is sleeping too much. If your child usually sleeps ten hours at night but suddenly can't get out of bed in the morning and wants to nap right after school, he or she may be clinically depressed. Your child needs professional help if you have tried to address sleep issues without success.
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