6 Reasons Why Kids Need To Sleep Well

on Friday, 13 January 2012. Posted in Parenting, Kid's Health Written By: Archana Mahendra

Understanding reasons why kids should rest

 6 Reasons Why Kids Need To Sleep Well

A good sleep not only provides rest to a child’s body but also helps stimulate their growth and development. Here are a few more reasons why kids should rest.

The importance of a good sleep is something that all parents can easily decipher from their child’s behaviour when he wakes up. If the child has slept well during the night, he will wake up fresh, energetic and in a happy mood. On the other hand, when the child hasn’t slept well he tends to wake up tired and cranky.

Children need more sleep as compared to adults. While young babies need an average of 14 to 15 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, toddlers require an average of 10 to 12 hours good sleep at night and at least an hour’s nap during the day. Children between 5 to 12 years should on an average sleep for 10 to 11 hours at night; while teenagers must sleep for an average of 8-9 hours.

Sleep Trivia

Children with higher IQs in every age group studied and slept longer

Research has proven that sleep disturbances in children not only lead to medical problems like allergies and ear infections; but also social and psychiatric issues.

Children who sleep longer during the day have longer attention spans

6 reasons why your child must sleep well:

1. Sleep Fuels physical growth
Growth of the body is largely affected by a hormone released in our body called the growth hormone. While this hormone is released the whole time, in kids this hormone is released most powerfully just after the beginning of deep sleep. Inadequate sleep can hence, result in slow growth; it can affect the child’s height, the functioning of the immune system and the heart and lungs too.

2. Sleep enhances brain development
A good sleep helps keep up brain growth and strengthens connections between nerve cells in the brain. Sleep is vital for the effective functioning of the brain. While asleep, the brain converts experiences and learning into memories. Hence, researchers recommend that students should always study and then sleep well before going for exams, instead of staying up all night doing revisions.

3. Sleep helps in learning the good and unlearning the bad
While promoting learning, sleep also helps a child to unlearn the negative experiences he might have had during the day. Sleep is important for a child to de-stress himself. During the day a child has several pleasant and some un-pleasant experiences like falling down during play. Once the child has had a healthy sleep, he is most likely to forget he fell down during play the day before.

4. Healthy sleep promotes optimal performance and alertness
Lack of good sleep means, the body doesn’t get to rest well; hence a child wakes up feeling exhausted, in a cranky mood, not hungry and unable to think or perform a task well. On the other hand a healthy sleep leads to optimal alertness, meaning the child will have a good attention span and will be highly interactive and receptive. Performance in case of a child who has slept well is bound to be much better as compared to a sleep deprived child.

5. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue
Sleep deprivation, even if it is trivial, causes fatigue in children and at the same time makes them hyperactive. Ever noticed how your child who has missed out his afternoon nap, to participate in say a family function is wide awake and hyper active at night despite not having slept the entire day. This is the result of the secretion of hormones like adrenaline that are released in the child’s body while she is trying to keep off the exhaustion during the day; the end result- you have a highly exhausted and cranky child , who can’t fall asleep.

6. Less sleep can lead to weight gain
Lack of sleep can lead to increase in appetite and hence pave way for obesity; this is because sleep affects the production of the peptides -ghrelin and leptin, that regulate appetite. While ghrelin tells the brain you are hungry, leptin sends the signals of fullness. Lack of sleep increases the ghrelin levels and decreases leptin levels, hence irrespective of eating one doesn’t seem to be full and tends to begin overeating which in turn leads to weight gain.

These days majority of the children do not get the proper amount of sleep on account of several reasons such as excessive homework, several hobby classes, television and internet surfing and so on. Parents must try and adjust a child’s time table to ensure they get the required amount of rest; else lack of sleep could not only have a negative effect on the child’s performance but also hamper his overall growth.

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