You know first-hand that if you don’t get a good night’s rest due to staying up late for a party or a social gathering how you feel foggy the next day. Your memory is off and you have this feeling of disconnect with yourself. The same holds true for infants and younger children. During the development years, it can affect their ability to learn, their weight, stunt their growth and plays a role in their overall health. There are also contributing factors that can prevent babies and children from sleeping such as noise and their environment. It’s important to do everything you can to establish a routine and remove any issues or distractions to promote a good night’s rest.
Your child spends a great amount of their time a sleep during their first few years. If your infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping for any period of time, it may be something as simple as their mattress. Companies such as moonlightslumber.com specialize in providing mattresses for all your child’s personal needs. Newborn babies have specific needs. They love the warmth and even if you live in a warmer climate make sure to dress them for bed fully covered.
In order for babies and younger children to develop properly proper amounts of sleep each night are necessary. When your child falls into a deep sleep and is truly resting, hormones in the body are working hard to stimulate your child’s blood, organs, muscles, and bones. A protein hormone produced in the pituitary gland called the growth hormone helps aid in the process. While the growth hormone does release periodically throughout your child’s awake hours, a significantly higher amount disperses through the body while your child is in a deep NREM sleep. This allows the body to heal itself, restore energy levels and promote tissue growth and supply blood to the muscles.
While your child sleeps the brain works hard to process the day’s events. In essence, it preserves them so that your child begins to recognize and retain information. Without the proper rest, your child can lose this ability to remember things that he/she learned. This can affect their schooling, and cause them to fall behind. It can also cause them to become antsy and not have the ability to focus on new lessons learned. Emotions and behavior can suffer as well. Children may develop mood swings, having difficulty bonding with their peers and get angry or stressed out easily.
Health Concerns without Proper sleep for Children
Sleep is so important to the overall health in developing children. If your child appears to have trouble losing weight, sleep may have something to do with it. When your child doesn’t sleep enough they produce a false hunger hormone called ghrelin and a decreased amount of the hormone called leptin which reduces hunger. This can contribute to your child wanting to eat more than their body requires to sustain their present weight. Over time, a lack of adequate sleep can cause your child to become overweight or obese and develop serious health issues like type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, even one or two nights of irregular sleep can throw a child’s system off balance. Vacations and late nights up due to holidays can take a toll on their body in a short period of time.
Routine before Bedtime
It’s important to do everything you can to make sure that your child follows a nightly routine prior to bedtime. Children respond well to schedules and routines. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at set times and bedtime is just as important. Establish a set routine like taking a bath or shower, brushing their teeth and then the wind-down period with a story followed by lights out. Establishing a nightly routine will help them to fall asleep faster.
Remove any Distractions
Children tune into their surroundings. Loud noises or bright nights can prevent them from falling asleep. If you have a television in their room establish a pattern early on that the TV goes off. Many parents also find that introducing white noise with a fan helps to drown out conversations or noise coming from another room. Add a small night light, turn the fan on and shut the door.
Sleep plays a vital role in mental and physical health for all humans. It’s especially important that growing children get the recommended hours of sleep so that they can develop into who they can become.