By: Jenn Kelner
Certified Sleep Consultant
The Importance of Healthy Sleep for Your Children
Sleep is so important the health and well-being of our children. Children need a lot more sleep than adults do, so it’s important to respect their need for sleep and provide them with enough opportunity to rest.
So exactly how important is sleep? Dr. Marc Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child says, “Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery. Sleeping well increases brain power just as lifting weights builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best.” Besides recharging our batteries, here are 5 other great reasons to help our children get a good night’s sleep.
1. Cognitive Ability
Lack of adequate sleep results in a decrease in attention span, memory loss, and difficulty making decisions. It has also shown to affect problem solving skills, social skills and language skills.
When the body isn’t getting enough sleep, its immune system has difficulty fighting off illnesses. Children become more susceptible to infections, which means more time away from learning and playing.
Sleep deprivation affects fine motor skills and simple tasks like climbing stairs, running or even walking can quickly become difficult and dangerous. Children tend to be clumsier when they haven’t had enough sleep.
When children are short on sleep they become irritable, easily frustrated, hyperactive and down right cranky! Behavioural problems have also been linked to getting insufficient sleep.
5. Weight Management
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep in childhood can contribute to obesity later on. Hormones which regulate appetite are thrown off when the body doesn’t get enough sleep and children who are tired are less likely to be physically active.