Sleeping is one of the most important things for young children’s development. Your body and your mind need to repair itself from the wear a tear of the day and recharge its batteries for the next one, and it does that with the help of a good night's sleep.
But in recent decades it has become common for people to deprive themselves of precious sleep, and our hectic lifestyle is partially to blame for that.
Another factor that interferes with our sleep is modern technology. People (children included) are becoming more and more addicted to technology, especially smartphones, and they are willing to sacrifice hours of rest time to catch up on the latest Instagram stories. There are ways to control your child's usage of mobile phones, such as installing parental control apps.
This is especially troublesome for young children because as the studies show using electronic gadgets before bedtime and not getting enough sleep affects their development negatively.
How long should children sleep each day?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Scientists still cannot come to a consensus on how many hours exactly should the person sleep per night. Needless to say, the amount of sleep your child needs will vary depending on their age. Although scientists cannot prescribe a specific number of sleeping hours they do still make recommendations which we will present below.
Newborn babies should sleep for at least 13 hours out of 24 hours. In some cases, it can be as high as 18 hours per day.
When babies turn one they should be sleeping approximately 12 to 14 hours per night.
As for toddlers from the age of 1 to 3, their daily sleeping average is somewhere between 11 and 13 hours per night which includes their afternoon naps.
When your child becomes a preschooler (i.e. reaches three years of age) they should be sleeping for at least 10 hours a day and in some cases, they may sleep for 12 hours. However, naptime can be reduced or stopped altogether.
And last but not least we will talk about primary school children, i.e. children who are at least 6 and at most 12 years old. It is essential for them to sleep for approximately 9 or 10 hours per night. This is essential for their physical, as well as mental development since lack of sleep may cause health problems in the future.
The effect of sleep on your child's health.
Multiple scientific studies have proven that a person can perform better during the day if they have had enough sleep.
Here is a short rundown of the benefits your child accrues by having slept for a recommended number of hours.
When your child is sleeping their body repairs their blood and heart vessels which enables oxygen to travel within the body much better. If children don’t get enough sleep they may develop certain heart diseases when they get older; and they may suffer from high blood pressure and even diabetes.
Another benefit of a good night's sleep is the fact that it balances our hormones and specifically, it helps us regulate the hormones that determine whether we need food or not. When we don’t sleep enough we disrupt the balance of these hormones and when we wake up we may feel hungrier than we actually are. So, as you may have already guessed it, lack of sleep is connected to a high risk of obesity.
In addition, as children go into deep slumber they release a sleep hormone that helps their muscle mass development and assists the proper formation of the cells.
Moreover, a healthy amount of sleep ensures that the body's immune system functions properly and fights the viruses; and this has probably never been more important than it is today.
What might happen to your child if they don’t get enough sleep.
Some parents think that cutting one hour of sleep is no big deal, but in fact, even that lost hour will affect your child’s overall health and performance significantly over a period of time.
Multiple studies have highlighted that sleep-deprived children have trouble performing academically at an appropriate level. So even one hour of sleep can make a drastic difference in your child’s ability to keep up with the demanding educational environment of today. How to tell if your child is sleep-deprived?
There are several telltale signs of sleep deprivation and they are listed below. If your child exhibits some of these symptoms it may be a sign that they are not getting enough sleep.
How sleep deprivation affects primary school students' performance.
We have already mentioned that sleep deprivation affects your child’s ability to master academic subjects.
First and foremost, your child will not be able to focus during their lesson and may not retain the information provided by the teacher. Lack of sleep may also prevent them from adequately performing any tasks given by the teacher in the classroom.
Studies have shown that both children and adults tend to have fewer memory-related problems when they get an appropriate amount of sleep. If a primary school student is not sleep-deprived they will be able to recall the topic teacher was talking about much better.
And finally, lack of sleep may also make your child hyperactive and cause them to experience short bursts of energy. During these brief periods of hyperactivity your child may become disruptive and very agitated, but after all of their energy is used up they will become fatigued and may even fall asleep at an inappropriate time or place during the day.
If you notice that your child is sleep-deprived do not panic; this is a condition that can be remedied very easily.
Just make sure that going to bed is part of the daily routine and happens at the same time every day.
And take away electronic gadgets at least an hour before going to bed. To conclude, sleep is as essential for children of all ages as healthy food and exercise; so make sure that your child sleeps enough as this will help them grow up strong, smart and healthy.