Well Rested: Kids Too Tired To Move?

Lazy Kid

You may remember Hal and Joanne from the old ParticipACTION ads. They were an active pair who encouraged us to “keep fit and have fun!”  Hal and Joanne may have reached retirement age, but they are still as active as ever and so is the Canadian Program ParticipACTION. This not for profit organization has just released its “2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.”  Due to emerging research, the Report card also includes the world’s very first “24 hour Movement Guidelines” for kids, including sleep recommendations.

 ParticipACTION asked the question, “Are Canadian Kids too Tired to Move?” And the answer seems to be yes.

 Research shows that less than 10% of kids get the recommended 60 minutes of vigorous activity a day. 75% of kids get more than two hours of “screen time,” meaning TV, IPAD/tablet, smartphone, or video games. Kids average sleep time has decreased by 30-60 minutes over several decades. Being sedentary delays kids bedtimes, and the average kid spends 8.5 hours in this low energy state!  A third of kids as young as five are reporting trouble falling or staying asleep and just as many teens report trouble staying awake during the day.

 The fallout from too little or poor quality sleep is extreme when it comes to kids. You may see hyperactivity, impulsiveness and a short attention span.  In fact ADHD and sleep deprivation look exactly the same during the day when it comes to kids. These kids have trouble with verbal creativity and lower IQ scores. Short sleeps can cause hormone changes that are associated with diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.  Poor sleep over time can lead to depression as well.

 So it seems as if our kids are too tired to be active during the day, but too sedentary to be sleepy enough to get decent night’s rest. This is certainly a vicious cycle!

 So what is the solution to this widespread problem? ParticipACTION has just released the “24 hour Movement Guidelines” for kids and youth 5-17 years of age. There are four categories, the “4 S’s”: Sweat-moderate to vigorous activity for at least 60 minutes a day to get the heart rate up; Step-several hours of light activity and movement; Sleep – 9-11 hours for 5-13 year olds, and 8-10 hours for 14-17 year olds of uninterrupted sleep with consistent sleep and wake times; Sit – no more than two hours of recreational screen time and limit the amount of time sitting for extended periods.

 By going outside more and turning off the screens, kids can get closer to these targets.  

 The key idea is that lots of physical activity makes for a longer and better quality sleep which in turn makes for a more rested kid ready to sweat and step their way to all around good health.

 Be sure to look up the highlights of the report card, or read the full report at: participACTION.com/reportcard.