We all need a good night’s sleep, but for our children it’s even more important that they get enough sleep because otherwise they may suffer problems both now and in the future. But just why is sleep so important to a child’s health and well being? In this article we’ll look at seven reasons why children need a good night’s sleep, and what can happen if they don’t get enough sleep.
1. Sleep is a time of growth
When a toddler or baby sleep deeply, their bodies release growth hormones that help their bones and muscles grow bigger and stronger. Sleep is also vital for growth of the brain, and a lack of sleep in childhood can affect mental and physical development.
2. Good sleep encourages good health
As well as growing during the night, we need sleep to help our bodies heal and recover from illnesses or fight off germs. Long term sleep deprivation has been found to lead to health issues including weak immune systems and depression.
3. Sleep improves daytime performance
Children who have a good night’s sleep are more likely to be full of energy, alert and able to concentrate well at school. A lack of sleep can result in children being drowsy or even falling asleep at their desk!
4. Sleep improves memory
When we sleep our brains work through all the information gained during the day and put it into order. Getting enough sleep helps develop memory skills; not enough sleep can make children more forgetful.
5. Sleep helps with our weight
A lack of sleep can upset the delicate hormonal balance that regulates appetite, meaning children can feel hungrier, over eat and gain excess weight.
6. A lack of sleep makes nightmares worse
Sometimes children don’t get enough sleep because they’ve had nightmares and are scared to go to bed. However, sleep deprivation can actually increase nightmares and sleep terrors, so it’s important to reassure your child and return them to a healthy sleep pattern as soon as possible.
7. A good night’s sleep for your child
Means a good night’s sleep for you too! Parents need sleep too, otherwise we get grumpy and unhappy and can’t function properly during the day. Helping your child develop a healthy sleep pattern means you get more sleep and will be happier and healthier too.