Health Benefits And The Importance Of A Good Nights Rest For Your Child And How To Ensure That Your Child Sleeps Well.

Kids and sleep go together like…pickles and ice cream? Almost all parents have to deal with children who won’t – or can’t – sleep. Sleep is incredibly important to a child’s development and health. A kindergartener need 10 to 12.5 hours sleep, while elementary 9.5 to 11.5 hours. Younger children need even more. Here are five benefits of a good night’s sleep for children.

Growing strong – A good night’s rest doesn’t’ just help your child feel good the next day; it can also make them grow physically and mentally. Children grow thanks to a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. This human growth hormone is affected by many things, including stress, nutrition and most importantly, sleeps.

Lack of adequate sleep can cause slow or stunted growth, sleep apnea and lung stress. Although many growth problems can be corrected with supplementary hormones, helping your child get a great night’s sleep can stop growth issues before they start.

No more nightmares – Nightmares usually happen during the rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep stage, when the brain is most actively sorting through experiences. This stage is critical for children because it helps them learn and create memories, but awakening during this cycle can trigger feelings that are as real as if they were really experiencing them. Although many nightmares occur for no discernible reason, stress, including moving, starting school or even lack of sleep, can manifest itself in your child’s dream.

A good nights’ sleep can help curb nightmares, and creating good habits can go a long way. A soft, cozy bed with soft sheets, pillows and blankets, a regular wake-up and bedtime and a comforting sleep routine can help your child fall asleep faster, sleep better and have fewer nightmares.

Brain power – “Can we just stay up a few more minutes!?” How many parents have heard this rallying cry from their children? As it turns out, even a few minutes of sleep missed can affect learning and emotional intelligence the next day. Studies have found that children who were sleep deprived performed worse on tests and got lower grades.

Health Benefits And The Importance Of A Good Nights Rest For Your Child And How To Ensure That Your Child Sleeps Well.A good night’s sleep can help a child’s concentration at school, leading to better learning and grasp of classroom material. For younger children, good sleep can help them better navigate their world emotionally; kids who sleep appropriate amounts have fewer tantrums (and can work through the tantrums more quickly.)

Parental relief – Parents of newborns, this one isn’t for you, but parents of toddlers and older children, listen up: when your child is sleeping, YOU can be sleeping. That’s right; a good night’s sleep for your child is actually good for the entire family. Sleep disturbances that come from a child who isn’t sleeping enough or wakes up often can have a toll on parents. Reducing nighttime sleep by as little as one hour for just one night can result in reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%..

Sleep deprivation for parents can cause poor quality of life, memory and cognitive impairment, and stress in relationships. Conversely, a well rested child’s attitude trickles down to his or her parents. Parents will have more energy to spend quality time with children, which can enrich the family unit.

Healthy  weight – If your child craves high-calorie carbs, junk food and sweets, it might be more than a food preference – their junk food appetite could be caused by lack of sleep.  Lack of sleep can cause changes in hormone levels that regulate hunger and metabolism. The hormones secreted during sleep can lead to overeating, preference for high-calorie foods, constant hunger, sluggish metabolism and can even trigger insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

A healthy, balanced dinner followed by an early bedtime (experts say school-aged children should be in bed by 8 or 9 p.m., and younger children even earlier) can help regulate your kids metabolism and appetite and help him or her maintain a healthy body weight.

Tips for a good night’s sleep – If your child isn’t sleeping well, get him or her on a good sleep schedule and make sure they have comfortable kids bedding. Introduce a relaxing routine to help your child transition to bedtime; the sequence will help him or her feel comforted and safe and the activities themselves will train the child’s brain to prepare for sleep. A quiet, cool and dark room with comfortable furnishings can also create a safe and relaxing environment.  Also make sure they aren’t having snoring issues.

 

 

Amanda is a social media manager for a health care organization by day and a blogger and freelance writer by night.  She writes for Irollover.

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