As a mom or a dad, you are probably pretty familiar with the effects brought forth by a lack of sleep on the behaviour of your child. Yes, what we are referring here are inherent crankiness, irritable attitude, and the rude response to every request and suggestion made to them. Even the best of video games and a mountain of animal crackers fail to smoothen around the jagged edges of such negative moods.
Experts say that there are far more severe repercussions of tiredness than this daily drama that parents have to put up with while raising their children. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on the health and development of the child to a significant extent, inhibiting their ability to deal with common illness, making them hyperactive, and giving rise to other associated health issues as they reach the adult life.
Influences of sleeplessness on the health of a child
The Better Sleep Council has always been vocal about advocating the need for adequate sleep for all. They claim that sleep should be turned into a family priority and parents need to ensure proper sleep for their children during childhood, so they get to enjoy a lifetime of benefits. Here are six essential reasons presented as to why sleep should take precedence above all else for kids.
1. Sleep helps in the development of brain cells
Sleep has a direct impact on the cognitive development of a child. Our brain continues to be a work in progress until the age of 21 and sufficient sleep over a consistent period helps in reaching the real potential.
2. Sleep helps to improve immunity
Getting the insufficient amount of sleep leads to weakening of the immune system thus making it incapable of fighting off illness – whether short-term, chronic, or a health problem that is far acute. Proper sleep helps in building stronger immune system and prevent illness.
3. Sleep helps to repair cells
Just as in adults, a good night’s sleep is very important for kids to help rebuild and repair their cells. Sleep plays an essential role in the release of growth hormones in kids thus improving their immunity, strengthening the nervous system, and aiding in better metabolism and weight management.
4. Sleep influences good memory and mood
If a child gets insufficient sleep, it will impair his ability to consolidate memory, i.e. store information and recall the same at a later date. Capacity to learn, performance at school and emotional stability are other issues that will creep in under the influence of lack of sleep.
5. Sleep aids in enriching neuro-development:
Short periods of sleep during the first three years of life have been linked to impulsivity/hyperactivity and lower cognitive performance on tests for neuro-development conducted at the age of six. Therefore, letting your child rest and peacefully asleep in a comfortable environment is very important for the neuro-development growth of your child.
6. Sleep helps in maintaining a healthy weight:
Researchers have found that children experiencing shorter sleep durations are 58% more likely to become obese and overweight. The further systematic review reported that obesity was 92% more likely among children with shortest sleep durations as opposed to those who enjoyed longer sleeping hours.
Parents have a significant role to play in helping their children getting proper and sufficient sleep at night. In case they find their kids having difficulty sleeping they should seek immediate professional help from a healthcare specialist or child paediatrician. Getting a new mattress could also prove to be the answer to all your problems though it cannot be considered a universal solution.