How important is sleeping for children? And how much sleep do kids need to grow and develop properly? For a variety of reasons, the number of cases where children go to bed late at night has been increasing lately.
It is not only a problem for children and their health but also a problem for parents, in many ways.
In today’s article, we will pay attention to children, ie how much sleep affects their development.
First, the very problem of late bedtime for children spills over into parents. If the child goes to bed late, then the parents go to bed late.
As a result, parents often experience chronic fatigue due to insufficient sleep for months! Children, on the other hand, need longer sleep, so going to bed too late is not good for them.
Because they are more likely to sleep less than necessary, which creates negative consequences of different types, which we will talk about below.
Second, poor sleep habits often weaken children’s immunity. Less sleep contributes to increased weight gain.
Third, by delaying the children’s sleep, parents lose so-called time for themselves. This in turn can easily have very serious consequences for the whole family.
Sleep in children is just as important as a healthy diet and regular physical activity
Proper sleep helps the body in “restarting”, ie repairing the damage caused during the day. This primarily means protection against free radicals, exposure to stress, and other external influences.
But not only that, but sleep is also a period of natural cell renewal. Among the components that are “renewed” are neurotransmitters, chemicals that enable communication with brain cells.
Experts have recently found that sleep provides the “cleansing” of brain cells of toxins that pose a potential risk of developing certain diseases.
What does the research say about how much sleep do kids need?
The latest data from science on this subject say that even very small disorders in the “pattern” or sleeping habit in children, can lead to quite serious problems.
The study from Dalhousie University says that sleep problems are visible only after 4 nights in which children sleep only 1 hour less than necessary.
The researchers said that some differences were to be expected. But the drastic changes they found in such a short period of time were definitely a surprise.
Pediatricians conclude that quite often parents do not notice that the child is not getting enough sleep. In such cases, the most common reasons for that are some kind of activities and hobbies that they have after school obligations.
Although watching TV and using smartphones are considered the most problematic.
Disturbed sleep is also possible for some more complex reasons such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Or diseases such as autism or Asperger syndrome.
Here are 5 specific reasons why sleep is so important and why it is important to know if your child is getting enough sleep.
Then how long sleep is recommended for children and babies from relevant medical institutions.
5 reasons why your child needs a longer sleep
Sleep in children stimulates growth
Growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep. Italian researchers have studied children with deficient growth hormone levels.
They found that they have a “deep sleep” much shorter than the average child. The more children have “deep sleep”, the better for their growth.
Children’s sleep is good for heart health
Children with disturbed sleep habits often have brain overstimulation during sleep. It can easily trigger a state of stress, multiple times during the night.
Specifically, these children have constantly elevated levels of cortisol and blood glucose. This condition is associated with diabetes, obesity, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Thus, we come to the conclusion that enough sleep contributes to better cardiovascular health in the youngest.
Children’s sleep has an effect on weight
An increasing number of studies confirm the claim that insufficient sleep increases weight in everyone, especially children and babies.
The link between sleep and weight is due to the following: when we eat to satiety, our adipocytes (fat cells) produce leptin.
Recall that leptin is a hormone that signals that eating should stop. Disorders in sleep habits also cause disturbances in the secretion of this hormone.
In this way, children often find themselves in a situation of overeating. Studies show that children who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be obese.
Additionally, the risk of obesity is increased by the fact that both adults and children who are tired and stressed make poor food choices.
In such situations, they more easily reach for unhealthy foods (with added sugars, salt, saturated fats …).
Children also tend to be less physically active, thus automatically burning far fewer calories.
Sleep strengthens children’s immunity
During sleep, children (and adults) secrete proteins called cytokines. These compounds are very important in the body’s fight against infections, diseases, and stress.
In addition to helping fight disease, they also stimulate sleep, which explains why we feel so sleepy when we have the flu or cold.
In this case, the cytokines encourage us to rest more, which improves the body’s ability to heal more easily. Impaired and insufficient sleep reduces the number of these proteins.
A number of studies have shown that when exposed to pathogens, people who sleep less than 7 hours are up to 3 times more likely to develop a viral or bacterial infection.
Although such studies do not yet exist in the youngest, ie in children, it is thought that the effect will be very similar.
Sleeping in children helps for better concentration and increases learning abilities
Studies show that just 30 minutes more sleep allows school-age children to deal more often with frequent mood swings and impulsivity. That way children can focus on learning much more easily.
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more vulnerable to the negative effects of disturbed sleep habits.
Much more attention should be paid to these children. Studies show that sleep improves the learning ability of children of any age.
How long should children sleep?
According to the British NHS or British Health, children have different sleep needs depending on their age.
Depending on age, children should sleep daily:
- Babies in the first week needed 8 hours of sleep during the day and another 8 and a half hours at night.
- In the fourth week, 6-7 hours during the day and about 8-9 hours at night.
- When the baby is 3 months old, he needs 4-5 hours of sleep during the day and about 10-11 hours at night.
- Babies from 6 to 9 months should sleep less. During the day about 2-3 hours and 10-11 at night.
- Babies who are 1-2 years old, 1-2 hours during the day, and 11 hours at night.
- Children 3-4 years, 11-12 hours at night
- Kids 5-9 years old should sleep 10-11 hours a night
- Children aged 10-13 – 9-10 hours at night
- It is enough for teenagers to sleep for 9 hours a night
Short Tips for Good Sleep Habits for Kids
The key is to recognize if there is a problem with your child’s sleeping habits. You should not allow children to sit in front of devices that emit blue light for at least 1 hour before bedtime.
Provide a comfortable sleeping area and a space with a slightly lower temperature. Introduce a relaxing habit before bed, which will be associated with sleep.
For example, you can read them fairy tales and try to get your child to go to bed at a certain time each day.
Increased physical activity during the day is good for the child and for better sleep at night.
Practice not allowing children to fall asleep with a pacifier full of milk or juices. Never allow your children to consume caffeinated carbonated beverages with added sugars.
Strong home lighting is not a smart choice.
Children, unlike adults, need much more sleep. Insufficient hours of sleep negatively affects the growth and development of children.
Children who do not get enough sleep, ie less than the recommended time for their age, find it harder to concentrate at school.
Sleep allows children to be healthier, strengthens their heart, and the body’s immunity. Fewer hours of sleep means more chances for children to gain weight.
Children need to have a regular habit of going to bed at night so that they can get enough sleep.
Advise children to sleep more because that way they will grow up and be healthier and have normal development.