Caffeine, kids, and sleep are all connected. This post is a call to be caffeine and sleep aware.

There’s no question that quality of sleep has long-term health and cognitive benefits. Sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain and loss, academic performance, emotional and mental stability and more.

The best way to ensure your child’s long-term wellbeing is to nurture good sleep habits in early childhood. Respecting sleep as an integral part of a 24-hour day is a cornerstone for parents’ and caregivers’ wellbeing as well – such needs are the same as the children in their care.

This week, increase your caffeine awareness for your family. Caffeine is what many adults reach for regularly with a variety of side effects. But for children and teens, there is no question that caffeine is bad for their health.

Caffeine effects:
– appetite & therefore growth
– mood (nobody likes a cranky kid…not even a cranky kid!)
– increases heart rate & blood pressure
– fine motor coordination

Caffeine is absorbed into every tissue of the body, as a drug you can build up a tolerance to caffeine – feeling its effects less and less so you consume more and more. Caffeine can take 3-7 hours to be released from the body.

Caffeine can be downright dangerous. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an analysis of energy drink toxicity in the National Poison Data System, of 1,480 non-alcoholic energy drink cases, 50.7% were children less than 6 years old.

The Journal of Pediatrics has stated that low doses of caffeine, under 100 mg, can have an impact on your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and quality of sleep. The Canadian government has advised that children take in 45 mg or less of caffeine.

Awareness regarding caffeine in your family’s diet requires only a shift of intention. Check labels and use this brief list of hidden sources of caffeine as a guide:
– Chocolate bars & hot chocolate
– Sodas – including sodas that are not cola colored & diet sodas
– Yogurt, ice cream, & frozen yogurt
– Flavored breakfast products — including cereals & breakfast drinks
– Coffee, tea
– Some medications

There are non-caffeinated alternatives to most of these with the exception of chocolate. There’s nothing like the real thing. If you do want to indulge in a chocolate treat, try to enjoy it before or close to noon.

For a more detailed list of caffeinated products, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has a helpful chart.

How difficult…or simple…will it be to increase your caffeine awareness this week? Please leave a comment or share this post. Get your free Bedtime Blueprint below know exactly when to cut out caffeine.

Learn more about how you can easily plan for sleep with tips from the experts. The Get Your Sleep On Summit is free. It features sleep and parenting experts Dr. Laura Markham (Aha! Parenting), Dana Obleman (Sleepsense), and Dr. Robert Rosenberg (Answers for Sleep).  Listen to the experts by clicking HERE.

Go deeper on caffeine knowledge here:  Journal of Pediatrics abstract on caffeine consumption and children.