Every living being needs sleep, just as much as it needs food and water, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation can have just as serious consequences as those resulting from improper hydration, or unhealthy nutrition.
According to the specialists, while 7-9 hours of sleep a day are sufficient for adults, children aged between 5 and 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep a day. Sleep problems and disorders are predominant at this age. Children have an increasingly busy schedule, at school and from other activities during the day. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus as it has a negative effect on the parameters involved in blood glucose regulation. This determines a resistance to insulin, which can lead to an excessive consumption of food and a decrease of energy consumption.
Moreover, scientists from Helsinki University  have recently studied the connection between sleep and school performances. 439 11-year-old pupils filled in a self-assessment form on their rest hours and mood. Results have shown that insufficient sleep during the week is correlated with attention problems during classes, lack of energy and slightly depressive conditions.
According to the study  initiated by PRAIS Foundation and conducted by GfK, as part of the national movement “I’m living healthy, too! – SETS on the Lifestyle habits of 1st graders from Bucharest, the 1st graders from Bucharest sleep an average of 8.9 hours a day, and the remaining time is divided between study – 4.3 hours a day (of which only 0.5 hours are dedicated to sports activities) and family, with whom they spend 4.2 hours a day. During the 24 hours of a regular day, approximately half of the 1st graders from Bucharest spend an average of 2 hours in front of the TV during the week, respectively 3 hours during the weekend. A third of the children spend more than 4 hours a day during the weekend watching TV, on the DVD-player or computer.
“Parents should supervise their children’s sleep routine, throughout the school period and to the adolescence, providing optimal conditions for a resting sleep, in a properly aired room, without a TV or computer, at a slightly low temperature. Additionally, we should not forget to show our children attention and affection before sleep and not only”, declared Silvia Bucur, President of PRAIS Foundation, the initiator of SETS Movement.
In the context of this research, the third edition of the national movement “I’m living healthy, too! – SETS” initiated by PRAIS Foundation will comprise a new chapter on the importance of sleep.
Here is some useful advice  to help you create a healthy rest program:
- Relax your mind! – A simple breathing exercise can help. Take a deep breath, breathing on your nose for three seconds, then exhaling for other three seconds. Take a short break before breathing again. Repeat for five-ten minutes every evening. Some people resort to solutions such as lavender oil, valerian or other herbs which help them sleep.
- Regular physical exercises – Regular physical exercises are a very good means to improve your sleep. Attention! Not before sleep, as brain stimulation prevents you from quickly relaxing.
- Create a sleep appropriate environment! – The bedroom should be a place for sleeping. Avoid turning it into an entertainment centre, with TV, computer and stereo system that can distract your mind from the necessary relaxation before sleep.
- Attention to what you eat – A plentiful dinner, little before your bed time will interfere with your sleep.
 Lehto JE, Uusitalo-Malmivaara L. Sleep-related factors: associations with poor attention and depressive symptoms. Child Care Health Dev. 2013
SETS Study on the Healthy Lifestyles of 1st graders:
 Sursă: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/articles/advicetips.shtml