Children’s growth & development. Why do children need more sleep? As parents we continually want to go about our busy lives and ignore the advice that children need naps and an early bedtime. Truth is, It’s an inconvenience. Here is why children need more sleep and why you should start to prioritize it today.
Children’s brain development.
Most of a baby’s brain development happens during sleep: literally. This is when the connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains are being formed. Brain synapses are formed during sleep: more than 1,000,000 million neural connections are formed per second during their first 3 years. A child’s central nervous system is developed during REM sleep. The most dramatic changes in the nervous system happen in the first two years of life.
Emotional regulation, attention span, focus, and memory all need sleep to function correctly for children. If you notice your child being more fussy, or irritable, having trouble focusing in school, behavioral issues, tantrums, hyperactive behavior. These could all be signs they are not getting enough sleep.
Growth! Children need sleep to grow.
48 percent of your child’s growth hormone is released while they sleep each day. Not to mention that it also helps repair muscle, tissue, and bones. A single night’s sleep will not stunt growth, however if the child continually does not get the sleep they need it could affect their growth in the future.
Immune system growth & development.
While babies sleep their immune system produces disease fighting antibodies. When they don’t sleep enough (including adults) the body does not have the time to produce these antibodies resulting in a weakened immune system. Sleep allows a balanced and effective immune function.
Sleep develops long term memory formation, an adaptive brand of the immune system that will remember past infections. Your child getting enough sleep also affects how quickly their immune system will respond to bacteria and viruses.
Sleep protects against obesity, anxiety, and depression.
We all want to protect our children and their well-being, there is no doubt about that! Did you know you can do one thing as simple as setting them up for sleep success daily? When a child gets the sleep they need;
- A restored body and mind is the first step to a healthy life. Sleep deprivation can raise anxiety by 30% in adults AND children. Research shows 75% of chronically depressed individuals of any age do not sleep well at night.
- Sleep supports a healthy gut. Having healthy gut microbiome helps prevent obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Gut microbiomes start to develop in the earliest years of childhood and stay through adulthood.
- Nutrition matters. Breastmilk and formula is how we all start out. As the child starts to eat solid foods, keep in mind, what you feed them affects their sleep. Which in turn affects their whole body. Processed foods are linked to many health risks including depression, obesity, and poor gut health.
Important takeaways for growth & development.
Sleep is CRUCIAL to your child’s growth in all aspects of life. Body, mind, intelligence, temperament, you name it!! The recommended sleep times are below.
Set up a daily routine to prioritize healthy eating, play, and naptime.
Have an early bedtime with a relaxing bedtime routine, and a safe sleep environment.
If you need support, or have no idea where to start, schedule a free call with us today. Are programs linked here. Sleep is the foundation to a happy healthy life for the whole family, and our passion is to help you get there!
Children’s recommended sleep times each day.
- 12 to 16 hours per day (including naps) between ages 4 months and 12 months
- 11 to 14 hours per day (including naps) between ages 1 and 2
- 10 to 13 hours per day (including naps) between ages 3 and 5
- 9 to 12 hours per day between ages 6 and 12
- 8 to 10 hours per day between ages 13 and 18
Leave a note if this is helpful to you and your family. When it comes to sleep, our doctors don’t have the time to educate us on it and how important it is for our bodies. They are also educated on “medicine” not sleep. I am on a mission to provide you with continuing sleep knowledge and resources, so stay tuned!
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