The Importance of Sleep in Child Development.
We all know the importance of sleep in our lives. Having a good sleep will help you recover your mental and physical health to face every new day in a more efficient way.
Think about it, have you ever had a bad night’s sleep and felt sick the next day?
That is because reem sleep (the type that we all should be striving for) has a huge impact on our immune system and the mechanisms we have in place to defend ourselves from diseases.
Now, for children, this is no different. When we are growing, our brains are constantly developing and creating synapsis and new pathways to collect and store knowledge.
The importance of sleep in child development comes from the fact that our brains “detox” while we are sleeping. Any sleep problems will impact significantly the cognitive capacities of our children.
Let us learn more about the importance of sleep and how to create good sleep habits in our children.
The amount of sleep
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides useful guidelines on how much children need to sleep at different stages of their development. According to them, these are the numbers we are looking for in our children.
- Babies 4-12 months: 14 to 16 hours.
- Toddlers 1 to 3 years: 11 to 14 hours.
- Pre-scholar age: 10 to 13 hours.
- In middle school: 9 to 12 hours.
- High school: 8 to 10 hours.
As you can see, after a certain point, the school-age is what determines the amount of sleep our children should be getting. Research shows that those numbers are what constitutes a good sleep in terms of child development.
Regular sleep deprivation leads to difficult behavioral and health problems-irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression.
Children who sleep well have healthier immune systems and better academic performance, behavior, memory, and mental health.
It is important to notice that just because your children do not comply with these recommendations all the time does not mean that they have sleep problems. However, you should keep a close eye on the signs of sleep problems or inconsistencies in your children.
Recommendations to create good sleep habits.
For children, it is important to establish a consistent bedtime routine. We are creatures of habits so we work better if we have a clear set of steps to follow.
To avoid your children having problems falling or staying asleep, you can follow these basic guidelines:
- Create a bedtime routine that should start and end at a certain hour.
- Lead by example: try not to foster behaviors like staying up to 3 am studying (this is not effective at all). Staying up all night with your teenager to correct his homework or staying up all night working is not setting a good example.
- Be mindful of screen time. It is known that too much screen time for our children can affect their cognitive development and the amount of sleep they get. You can read more about screen time for children here.
- Keep them active during the day: doing exercise or any active physical activity will help your children to fall asleep without too much trouble. Yoga, pilates, and those kind of exercises are great to do before bed. You can read more about bedtime yoga for kids here.
At Spimbey, we want all of the children of our family to have a good night’s sleep to be ready to learn and face the world.
A playing session in one of our playsets will also help a lot to drain some energy for your children to fall asleep easily at night.