Have you ever thought as to why children need more sleep? Why should we allow them to have a peaceful & comfortable sleep? What can be the effect of lack of sleep in toddlers & kids?
If not, this article is for you. Whether or not your kid sleeps properly, this article is a must read for all since it raises your awareness and you could easily relate your child’s behaviour. From birth till adolescence, the quantum of sleep a child needs varies significantly and has various impact on the developing personality.
Sharing an Infograph by sleep foundation, reflecting age wise recommended sleep duration:
Understanding the Science behind Sleep & Growth for growing kids:
Pituitary gland of brain secrets a hormone – Human growth hormone responsible for growth in children. And the matter of fact is, in small children, it is majorly released when the sleep enters a “deep sleep” phase. This is why an infants growing body needs to have more of sleep. Not those 10 minute naps, but a proper sleep, which enters into the “deep sleep” phase & triggers the maximum release of growth hormone.
Reason why a good sleep is must & effect of lack of sleep in children :
1. All about growing strong :
Due to release of HGH during the deep sleep. It’s also researched that kids with poor sleep on a regular basis may have stunted growth & even height.
2. Relaxation :
Their growing body needs relaxation at regular intervals. Sleep is a time when the muscles rebuild and the energy assimilates in the body. They need to sit, crawl, stand, run, play, talk & so much more from birth. Imagine the amount of energy utilized, which is why sleep is a must.
3. Immunity :
Babies & Kids with less of regular seep have weak immune system. While in sleep they release a type of protein (cytokines) which help body fight infections and de-stress the body. It has also been researched that WBC (White blood cells) production decreases which is a major factor impacting a body’s resistance to allergens or environment.
4. All of mental growth :
Effect of lack of sleep is more concerning in infants & children compared to in adults. Less sleep = Less growth hormone & it has been found that such children struggle with their problem solving abilities, have lower IQ compared to others, lack the concentration & are inattentive. They usually don’t remember the happenings.
5. Social Development :
Not just mental & academic part, less sleep also affects the social life.
“I believe all of us have experienced sometime or the other, when lack of sleep results in extra crankiness of a child. They suddenly become violent, hyperactive, have great tantrums to throw & become emotionally very weak. Sometimes the crying pangs become intolerable. “
Majorly, these mood swings are because of lack of sleep or them feeling sleepy. These aggressive behavioural changes impact social life and friend circle. It slowly grips a child of negativity from within & have serious impact of his EQ.
6. Healthy body:
Could you have ever linked Obesity & diabetes in children due to Sleep?
[One of my friend recently narrated a 3year old diagnosed with Juvenile diabetes which gave me shock waves.]
Sleep deprived kids tend to overeat, due to less production of a hormone (leptin) which signals our body to stop eating. It has been stated in many researches that with time sleep deprived children tend to get obese by the time they hit 5-7years. It also affects insulin production from high carb foods which is linked to type 2 diabetes.
7. Impacted sports time:
Sleep deprivation also leads to affected sports performances & kids become more prone to injuries. Their hand to eye coordination reduces with less sleep. This adversely also impacts their muscular development.
8. Other impacts as Inconsistent sleep & night waking, Nightmares are also common due to an aggressive mind.
Some of the triggers for poor sleep like colic or allergy gets phased out soon but issues like child anxiety lay an emotional trap for kids. So, try to bring kids into a soothing cycle atleast an hour before the bed time & ensure that a set routine is never compromised.
Things that impact a good sleep :
1. Too much screen time :
Kids rampantly watch videos, Tv’s, video games and all of this reduces their sleep time. Definitely they are curious for these objects & sometimes they are required for educational purposes also. But restrict the video time during the day & not more than 30min a day. Their video times may give us with some “Self” time, but ensure the timing & duration for a better growth of child.
2. Eating Habits :
There has to be a balanced diet for a good sleep. Too heavy or empty stomach both are not beneficial for children. Cold coffee, chocolates, tea, cold drinks they all have perfect ingredients to hamper a good night’s sleep, so better avoid them. Shall be sharing the foods inducing sleep soon, in my Sleep Guide II part.
I’m a staunch believer of this. A stable consistent bed routine is a MUST for any infant, toddler, preschooler & kid.
4. Ambience :
A quiet dark room with optimum temperature works best for a child’s sleep. Ensure that there are no loud noises or background flashing lights. They distract deep sleep, which is must to produce Melatonin (Sleep hormone).
Soon, I’ll be sharing my Sleep part II & III series on factors helping child to have a great sleep. Keep watching the space:).Incase you’ve had a hard time making your child sleep, do refer to it. I believe all 3 parts of sleep shall be helpful to parents struggling for peaceful nights with the logics explained.
Happy Sleeping Momma’s. Good Luck. Any queries most welcome!