We all know that sleep is essential. What we don’t often understand is that young children require a lot of sleep and not getting enough sleep can hurt them in all kinds of ways. Any child will require up to 10 – 12 hours of sleep until the age of 10, beyond which they will require around 10 hours of sleep till they are grown up. Good and regular sleeping habits can engender a long-term healthy and positive outlook towards life. Here’s how!
Promotes growth: The younger they are, the more sleep they need. The growth hormone required for proper growth and development of a child is secreted mostly during deep sleep. This makes sufficient sleep essential for growing children. Similarly, children who get their ten hours of sleep tend to be healthier and get fewer colds and illnesses.
Prevents behavioural problems: Behavioural problems crop up in children when they are not getting sufficient sleep or if their sleep is irregular or broken. Children can become hyperactive and agitated. If left unsolved, a lifestyle that does not provide children with sufficient sleep can lead to long-term chronic behavioural problems.
Better academic performance: Children who have regular sleep patterns and get sufficient sleep tend to do well in school. Their attention span develops well,and their creativity gets a boost. Even a small change of adding 30 minutes to their daily sleep can create a huge change in their school life as found by Dr Kyla Wahlstrom of University of Minnesota.
Reduces obesity: The less sleep a child gets, the more at risk they are of becoming obese. The reason for this is that the leptin hormone, created by the fat cells, signals to the brain that your stomach is full. This can get disrupted by lack of sleep. This is why children who sleep late tend to want extra snacks, all of which can lead to obesity.
Good sleeping habits also are a powerful aid in ensuring that your child is happy and satisfied and suffers from fewer problems. It can also be a good way to help children deal better with conditions like ADHD and autism.
But how can you promote good sleeping habits in your children? The answer can be as simple as creating a routine and sticking to it very strictly. Reduce the number of electronics in their bedroom, especially TV. Encourage them to switch off their mobile phones after dinner. It is also a good idea to avoid high carb foods, junk foods, and caffeine for a few hours before bedtime.
Another significant thing is to ensure that children use their beds only for sleeping. A nice children’s bed with lovely designs and interesting motifs can help in ensuring that they love going to bed on time.
By creating the right atmosphere in the home for encouraging a stable and healthy sleeping routine, you can ensure that your child derives the numerous benefits of sufficient sleep.