Children lead very busy lives and are pretty active during the day (both physically and mentally); they are also growing and developing more and more every day. All of this means that sleep is crucial for every child every night.
While I am sure you would agree that it’s important for children to get enough sleep, do you know why it’s so important?
Here are the main reasons:
– Sleeping is directly linked to growth. When your child is in a deep sleep, their body releases growth hormones, helping them to grow. So, the saying is true – you literally do grow in your sleep.
– Sleep helps to fight germs and bacteria. The body is clever and uses times of rest to produce a special protein that the body then uses to fight infection and illness. If children aren’t getting enough sleep, they don’t have as much of this protein available to their body– so they get sick more easily and take longer to recover from infections and illness.
– Sleep helps children to concentrate and regulate their mood. Tired children have less impulse control and are easily distracted. After a good night’s sleep, children can focus better and generally are in a better mood.
– Sleep boosts children’s learning. While children are asleep, their brain is busy processing and making neural connections. More sleep = better processing of learning.
– Children who have a good sleep routine and have enough sleep have less chance of chronic disease, especially diseases of the heart.
– Sleep allows our bodies to repair and rejuvenate – while children sleep, their body is busy repairing tissues and boosting their muscles and proteins.
– Sleep allows the brain to encode and process memories; this occurs during the sleep cycles of REM sleep and non-REM sleep.
– Sleep helps our body clock to do its job. By having a regular bedtime and sleeping pattern, your child’s body clock will work more effectively – allowing them to fall asleep more quickly and have a more restful night.
If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, try one of these tips:
– Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time
– Have a set routine before bed (bath, story, bed or something similar that helps their body relax)
– Take away all electronics before bed (and remove them from the bedroom)
– Encourage your child to be active during the day
– Avoid foods with hidden caffeine such as soft drinks and some chocolates
– Ensure they are eating a balanced diet and having all their nutritional needs met.