The Importance of Children’s Sleep

children's sleep

Children’s Sleep for a Healthy Mind and Body

Getting enough sleep is important for children – for many reasons.

Restoring energy and maintaining a healthy mind and body are two big reasons for children to get a good night’s rest.  A protein hormone called human growth hormone (Hcg) is a key player in your child’s growth. For children, the most intense period of release of Hcg is shortly after the beginning of deep sleep.

Kids who don’t get enough sleep show changes in hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, causing a child to overeat and have a preference for high-calorie carbs. What’s more, a shortage of sleep can affect the way your childs’ body metabolizes these foods, triggering insulin resistance, which is linked to type 2 diabetes.

A lack of sleep at night can affect motor skills and concentration during the day, behavioral problems, and poor performance at school.  The National Sleep Foundation publishes lots of great information on children and sleep.

Most importantly, children well into their teen years might not know how important sleep is to their mind and bodies. They may not know why they are feeling cranky, tired, and hungry for carbs and sweets all the time. They may be feeling miserable and lashing out. They may feel they don’t need a lot of sleep, but we as parents can see it affecting their mind, body, and behavior. Your children’s sleep can also affect your sleep.

Signs that your child may not be getting enough rest include crankiness or lethargy by day, difficulty concentrating in school or failing grades, and being hard to wake up in the morning.

What Parents Can Do

  • Establish a consistent bedtime. School-age children should be in bed by 8 to 9 p.m. (earlier for the youngest grades and kids who need a lot of sleep).
  • Set up a good bedtime routine, which helps signal to your child’s body that it’s time to wind down. This might include giving him a bath or a snack, reading a bedtime story, and talking or singing to him softly while tucking him in.
  • Make sure your childs’ bedroom is conducive to sleep. It should be dark and quiet.
  • Don’t keep a TV and computer in your child’s room.
  • Avoid stimulating activity 2 hours before bedtime.Young Girl Making Her Bed

The Right Mattress and Pillow(s)

Another way we can ensure our child is getting a good nights sleep is to make sure they have a comfortable bed to sleep on, along with a pillow that is right for them. Don’t underestimate how important the right mattress and pillow is to your children’s sleep.

That old hand-me-down mattress and pillow may not be helping your child get a good nights sleep, due to lumpiness and/or the pillow not being the right thickness/fluffiness to support your childs’ head alignment properly.

As parents, it is our responsibility to be sensitive to and protect our children’s sleep, just as we do their safety, and ensuring that they regularly get breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

We are primarily responsible for their sleep habits so it is important to start healthy sleep habits early; it is much easier to instill good habits than correct bad ones.

Infuse the importance of sleep with daily attention to it and you will likely have a happier, self-assured, less demanding, and more sociable child.

Talk to the certified sleep geeks at Sleep Solutions; they will be happy to help you find a mattress that is right for your child.

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