The Bullier and the Bullied Life
Effects of Insufficient Sleep
It was a conversation no parents want to have. The school called with the news that their son was being bullied for being different and that he had tried to harm himself due to lack of friends since moving to the area. Fast forward. The kids at school watch in amazement as Jeke and his sister are greeted by a police-escorted entourage of motorcycles, an idea put in motion by their father, Justin Fitz, a member of K-Dogs for Kidz, whose mission is to Stop Bullying. When the bikers get Jeke on the bike, complete with a Batman helmet, exclamations of excitement are heard from Jeke and the kids on the bus. This creative experience changed Jeke’s life, and he hasn’t been bullied since. – Video published by NTD Television
– Be the Hero… Teach Kindness! Get involved! Be Creative & Check the ZZZ’s!
The more researchers study children and their sleep patterns, the clearer it becomes that quality and quantity of sleep can impact every aspect of a child’s life. One study found that:
Children who bully are at risk for later psychiatric symptoms, delinquency, substance abuse, antisocial behavior, violence, and criminal activity, 9, 10 while childhood victims of bullying suffer impaired self-image, depression, and decreased quality of life. 11 Urban school children with aggressive behaviors may have symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing with disproportionate frequency. Sleepiness may impair emotional regulation necessary to control aggression. – PMC, NCBI
Unfortunately, sleep deficiencies can result in your child bullying or being bullied. Because sleep quality factors into self-esteem, and self-esteem plays a major role in bullying, insufficient sleep can lead to your child being on both sides of bullying. However, most people never consider this connection. Sometimes, children bully or are bullied by others because they are simply exhausted. They feel irritable and angry at others because their bodies aren’t getting the rest they need to function properly. Instead of seeing the problem, they take that frustration out on classmates, siblings, parents and friends.
Whether your child is bullying or being bullied, investigating lack of sleep could be key in helping them reach their potential. If insufficient sleep is playing a role, it could be time to take action. SRBD is easily treatable, and getting proper treatment can help your child to thrive.
This is urgent work: One in four children in the United States is bullied each year. Indeed, bullying is a public health crisis. Research links being bullied in childhood with a long list of physical and mental health challenges, including obesity, depression and higher risk of chronic disease. – Yale Medicine
Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder (SRBD)
Symptoms of sleep deprivation can create behavioral and cognitive challenges, and impact their emotional well-being. In addition, SRBD can lead to crowded teeth, delayed growth, appetite control problems, symptoms similar to ADHD and more. It’s understandable that situations can arise due to school and social activities that create inconsistent family sleep schedules. When children get less than the recommended quantity and quality of sleep it impacts their health,
home and school behavior, potentially putting themselves and others at risk of bullying or being bullied. Generally, a child age 10 will need 10 hours of quality of sleep, this is adjusted during their development stages, as less sleep is needed as they grow. Adults need 6 – 9 hours of quality sleep as a general rule of thumb for optimal performance.
“A child’s sleep schedule actually impacts their confidence and self-esteem. If your child isn’t sleeping enough at night, it can be difficult for them to maintain confidence in social situations,” states Dr. Rod Willey founder of Koala KIDZzz®. “Sadly, when a child has low self-esteem, they will not be nearly as happy either. This lack of self-esteem and happiness can follow them into their adulthood, all because of insufficient sleep. If your child is struggling with low self-esteem or depression, part of the problem may be that they aren’t getting the sleep they need.”
We need to mention obesity as one possible factor in bullying, being bullied and how obesity can contribute to childhood sleep apnea and how sleep apnea attributes to interruptions of Leptin and Ghrelin hormones that regulate appetite control and cravings. Hormones that regulate growth are also interrupted during SRBD, which can contribute to delayed growth; another source of material for bully’s to attack. Finding ways to stop the cycle is to have children screened for Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.
If your child’s grades are worse than usual, it’s quite possible insufficient sleep is part of the problem. As the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) points out , students “need to have energy, the ability to focus, concentrate, retain information, and be creative problem solvers. Success at school also requires kids to control impulses and manage their emotions and behavior to keep on track. All of these skills depend heavily on healthy, consistent sleep.” It is easy to look at poor grades and attribute them to lack of effort, but that is not always the case. If your child is experiencing sleep deprivation, they won’t be able to concentrate or make the effort necessary to succeed.
How can Koala KIDZzz® Help?
Like Jeke’s father, Koala KIDZzz® Pediatric Airway Development wants to provide solutions to help kids thrive and get the sleep they need to live a happy, healthy life. Visit Koala KIDZzz® to discover if sleep deprivation or Sleep Related Breathing Disorder is at the root of your child’s physical and mental challenges.
As a division of Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, Dr. Rod Willey, in Dunlap, IL treats childhood SRBD with non-surgical, and non-pharmaceutical program. Call for a Free Childhood SRBD Exam and Consultation (855) 977-0400 or click here to schedule an appointment.