Children need to get an adequate amount of sleep at all ages. Enforcing a timetable for children to sleep can put them away from distractions. A night of good sleep improves overall health and the immune system. It even enables proper growth and functioning of the brain by processing information and filing memories of the day’s incidents.
As children grow up, most children tend to suffer from sleep deprivation. TV, computer, text messaging, video games, and other activities deprive the child of sleep due to over-addiction to tech gadgets. For the brain to function correctly, the brain cells have to regenerate during sleep. Quite surprisingly, brain cells do not regenerate like other body parts when the body is awake.
According to a Pediatrics journal, lack of sleep could make children overweight or obese. An additional hour of sleep reduces the risk of being overweight by 20%. Lack of proper sleep can impact even behavior, causing irritability and mood swings. To keep up the mood, children tend to use food. Again, it could make them lazy, causing them to stay indoors instead of playing outdoors.
Lack of Sleep Problems
Lack of sleep affects memory, attention and affects learning in children. Experts recommend a sleep of 11-13 hours in preschoolers, 10-11 hours of sleep in school-aged kids, and a rest of 7-8 hours in adolescence. Among teenagers, sleep deprivation can increase anti-social behaviors like smoking, drinking, addiction to drugs apart from low grades. Parents play an essential role in developing a sleeping routine early on in life.
It would help if you kept the television, computer, and all other distractions out of the bedroom. You can make the bedroom more sleep-friendly by switching off the lamps or by switching to sleeping lights. A glass of warm milk before sleep could soothe the child and prepare them for a better night’s sleep. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, parents can set aside 10-30 minutes to get the child ready for sleep. A bedtime story, a small family chat about the day, or reading a storybook could relax a child before sleep.
Avoid feeding the child with caffeine-rich foodstuffs towards the end of the day. It would be best if you avoided chocolates, sodas, and caffeine drinks at bedtime. Make sure that the child uses age-appropriate video games and TV programs could avoid sleep-related issues. A consistent bedtime routine and waking times could establish good sleeping patterns early on in life.
Children should not be allowed to sleep just anywhere. Sleeping on couches and then transferring them to their beds can cause frightening experiences and develop the habit of night waking. Sleeping in one place and waking up to find in a whole different place can affect their orientation.
Ensure that the child sleeps once they are in bed. Avoid chances for them to get out of bed with excuses for not sleeping, like drinking water. Add regular outdoor games as a daily activity for the child for a good night’s sleep.
Do you find sleep-related issues in your child?
Is your child cranky throughout the day?
Is your child waking up frequently during the night?
If you are finding similar sleep-related problems, talk to your family doctor or a sleep specialist. Children with sleep disorders and snoring problems could have twice the risk of developing ADHD. Diagnosing a sleep-related issue early on could resolve problems better.