18 Oct 5 Reasons Babies Need Sleep
I often get asked (usually by Dads) Why do babies need so much sleep? Usually this is followed up with the theory that depriving a child of a nap will make it easier for them to sleep through the night. Unfortunately that theory is wrong.
The more sleep your baby gets during the day (within reason) the better they will sleep at night! Sleep is so beneficial to us all – My Nan always used to say “A good nights sleep can fix anything” and for the most part she was right! But lets dig a little deeper and look a little closer at the wonderful world of sleep…
Here are my top 5 reasons why Babies & Children need more sleep than the rest of us…
Some days you lookat your child and you could have sworn they that grew bigger overnight right? Well technically this could be true! The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released into the bloodstream during the ‘repair and restoration’ part of our sleep cycles. Babies spend a much larger part of their sleep in this part of the cycle then we do as adults as they have a lot more growing to do!
During sleep our bodies produce proteins and antibodies that we rely on to fight infection, illness and even stress! Studies on adults have shown that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night are almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to a virus than those who sleep 8+ hours! Whilst there is no research on this in babies (because how cruel would that be!!) just imagine how hard their little bodies have to work to fight off the daily onslaught of germs and viruses from the world around them!
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT ~
Sleep improves achilds ability to learn and for their brain to retain information. Although our little ones look peaceful whilst sleeping their little brains are actually very busy processing and memorising allthey have seen, smelt, and heard that day . Naps are particularly important for this – studies conducted on a group of pre-schoolers have shown that on the days they were given a nap (lasting on average 1.5 hours) the group as a whole were 75% more likely to remember a pattern they had been shown prior to nap time. On the days the children were kept awake they were significantly less likely to be able to complete the pattern!
~ When children are sleep deprived they become clumsy and their reaction times slow down and, just like us adults; they are more likely to do impulsive or reckless things. I am sure you have all noticed that your child’s balance and sense of depth prevention is off when they are feeling tired. This is most obvious in babies that are just mastering the art of walking, now this is a skill that requires a lot of brain power and concentration. A few nights of broken sleep or a skipped nap can result in some nasty falls as your babies balance and ability to react quick enough to stop their injury is impaired by their need for sleep!
CONCENTRATION SPAN & BEHAVIOUR ~
Tired children are notoriously impulsive and easily distracted. When we are tired our brains struggle to focus and we are often subconsciously looking for ways to disengage ourselves from the task at hand – and kids are no different! We often hear how sleep impacts kids in the classroom, but a lack of sleep also affect the behaviour of babies and young children too! It is more likely that a toddlers ‘bad’ or unsavoury behaviour is related to either tiredness or hunger more than any other cause – including attention deficit disorders. In fact ruling out sleep issues is an important part of the diagnosis when professionals are looking at behavioural issues in young children. Do you notice a change in your little ones behaviour when they don’t get enough sleep? Do you notice a change in your child’s behaviour when they don’t have enough sleep?
If you are looking for help or advice around your child’s current sleep situation then I would love to chat with you. To contact me and to find out more about the services that The Sleep & Grow Co. offer then follow THIS link.