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It’s bad enough waking up after too little sleep as an adult. Scratchy eyes, feeling irritable and just wanting to crawl back into a nice warm bed. For young children the experience of having too little sleep is the same; however, this will usually manifest into tantrums and upset. Not only does lack off sleep lead to irritability but it can also hinder development and increase the risk of health issues such as obesity. Let’s take a look at the importance of sleep as a child.
If your child does not get enough sleep their bodies are not as capable of dealing with the impact as an adult is. Amongst the many problems that can arise is a problem with obesity. A lack of sleep can lead to a lack of hormone control which can impact development as well as appetite. Children can suffer from loss of appetite to an over stimulated desire to eat, either of which can be bad for long term growth and health.
Lack of Energy
Deep sleep, more often referred to as slow wave sleep, is the sleep that makes you feel especially groggy when you wake up because the body has not completed the full sleep cycle. It is also known that this particular phase of sleep is when the body secretes the growth hormones that are so important from birth onwards. For a child to grow they need these hormones which are secreted by the pituitary gland. During deep sleep your little one’s body is not using energy to maintain its wakeful state so all of that energy can get diverted to support the growth hormones and ensure growth and development occurs.
Inability to Concentrate
A lack of sleep is especially concerning for children as they are growing, learning and developing every day. A lack of sleep can hinder this progress as tired children will struggle to concentrate at school. We can all sympathise with the struggle to concentrate after a restless night’s sleep; therefore it is essential to consider ways to improve your child’s sleeping habits if they are struggling to concentrate in school and are stating to fall behind.
Improving Sleep Quality
There are various ways you can help improve your child’s quality of sleep. The first step is to identify possible issues; these may be obvious but, in most cases, it may not be so simple. Some of the things you can do to improve the quality of sleep for your child are; remove screens from their room, create a relaxing bedtime routine, assess their diet and stick to a schedule.
The old wives’ tale that says lack of sleep stunts your growth may be a little closer to the truth than we once thought. One rough night for a child will not mean problems but if adequate sleep is not provided in the long term there is a risk of growth and development problems. Good sleep really does mean good growing so if your bundle of joy does not appear to be making the most of their sleep time look to your routines and if there is still not improvement then a visit to your doctor would be a good idea.