Why is enough sleep so vital for your child?
Sleep! We all need it and probably not getting enough of it, but why is it so crucial for your children to have adequate sleep and a healthy sleep routine? Dr Eunice, Specialist Paediatrician, explains;
Overall, children who get enough sleep have better mental and physical health. Sleep has important effects on growth, especially during the first few months of life. Growth hormone is secreted primarily during deep sleep. Studies have shown that children who regularly get a good night’s sleep have better attention spans, can concentrate on tasks for longer, have improved learning, memory, problem-solving abilities and energy levels. During sleep, children (and adults) also produce cytokines that the body needs to fight infections, illness, and stress.
There is growing evidence that children who do not get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight. Children who consistently sleep less than 10 hours a night before the age of 3 years are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by the time they are 6 years old. Inadequate sleep among adolescents can have long-term effects on their academic performance and mental health, with increased anxiety and even depression. In addition, poor sleep in children has been linked with higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in adulthood.
What can parents do to improve their child’s sleep habits? The following are a few helpful tips.
– Create a consistent bedtime routine (such as bath, teeth, book, bed) for children. The routine should ideally start at the same time every night.
– Avoid the use of electronics/screens (TV, computers, laptops, tablets, phones) at least one hour before bedtime
– Have a quiet family activity such as reading a short book as you help children wind down before bed.
If you are worried about your child’s sleep or development, then always discuss with your doctor to see how they can support you.