Importance of Sleep in Children

Most of us have fond memories of being gently lulled to sleep with rhythmic lullabies and soothing bed-time stories during our childhood. Parents and grandparents, across ages, races and countries have clearly understood the deep importance of regular sleep in helping improve their child's brain development, language mastery and cognitive skills.(1) (3)

However, the changing lifestyles and work commitments of the parents have taken a toll these days as they struggle. Healthy sleep for children is as important as nutrition for growth and overall development.

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Why healthy sleep is important in children

Healthy sleep should be without disturbances and sufficient. A little child needs at least 15/16 hours of sleep. As they grow, toddlers should get 2 hours of afternoon naps as well as 10 hours of uninterrupted night sleep, else they become cranky and may have problems with focus and attention. (2)

It is ideal that healthy sleep is in sync with your child’s internal clock. The need for good sleep in the formative years is very crucial in mapping the child’s physical, mental and psychological well-being.

Some interesting facts about irregular sleep vs a normal child sleep pattern

  • Sleep helps in brain development and there’s a definite link between sleep and brain cell growth and repair. Sufficient sleep helps the brain increase brain tissue (structure) as well as synapses (connections).

  • It’s been observed by neuroscientists that children who take relaxed afternoon naps have sharper memory when compared to children having deficient sleep.

  • There’s no denying the fact that good sleep boosts growth. The growth hormone secretion is effectively more during deep sleep

  • There’s no denying the fact that good sleep boosts growth. The growth hormone secretion is effectively more during deep sleep

  • Good sleep is known to increase mental alertness, agility and reduce health risks

Benefits of healthy sleep in children

Parents, guardians, baby-sitters are aware that children who get sufficient sleep are happier and readily adapt themselves to learning new techniques and models. Toddlers at day-care centres are encouraged to catch a few winks in the afternoons too. Apart from good health, adequate sleep is essential for brain development and related motor skills so it’s essential we ensure our children are well rested, healthy and lead a happy life.

References

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/performance/improve-your-memory-good-nights-sleep

  2. http://www.sncdsb.on.ca/blog/sleep-brain-development-children

  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/robert-rosenberg-sleep-answers/sleep-and-childhood-brain-development/