Sleep is more important than one might think. Everyone needs sleep; without it, every single person would be extremely unhealthy or worse – diagnosed clinically insane. Sleep affects the way we look, perform, and feel on a daily basis. We actually delved deeper in the 5 stages of sleep so you can have a more detailed look at exactly what happens if you get too little (or too much) sleep at night.
However, sleep (or the lack of it) affects none more so than children.
A child needs proper sleep for all aspects of their development – from their physical development to their ability to learn. Parents are responsible for developing appropriate sleep habits that set the stage for their child’s health and well being, not just in childhood but for their entire lifetime.
We understand how stressful it can be when trying to get kids to sleep, most especially young children. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help parents worry less about their child not having a good night’s sleep.
Lights Out: A Parents’ Sleep Guide for Infants to Preschoolers
Frequently, the biggest issue for parents of infants and toddlers is sleep. And that’s no surprise. Young children are still developing good sleeping habits. However, at this age, they require an adequate amount of sleep for healthier development.
Marc Weissbluth, MD, the author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” says that newborns need sleep for brain development. Experts have found that when children do not have an adequate amount of rapid eye movement or REM sleep, they may grow to have a shortened attention span. On top of that, when young ones do not have proper sleep, they release more cortisol, the stress hormone. When that happens, children, especially newborns, will have shorter naps and will wake up more frequently at night.
Speaking of newborns, caring for little ones is a daunting task, most especially when it comes to sleep. Why? Because, at this age, they have not yet developed what is known as a circadian rhythm, which begins developing at about the sixth week of birth.
For parents, it is vital that you instill proper sleeping habits for your children. Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who do not have good sleeping patterns after six months are found to have more challenges when they grow older.
Babies sleep many hours within the day. In fact, when they turn two, toddlers are known to sleep more times than they are awake! Parents of active and energetic toddlers may find this hard to believe but studies show that kids roughly spend 40% of their childhood sleeping. However, children sleep for only a few hours at a time, which is challenging for parents. Although being patient and consistent is all it takes for your children to start having a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Chart for Babies:
|Total Hours of Sleep
|Total Hours of Sleep at Night
|Total Hours of Daytime Sleep
|8 to 9 Hours
|8 to 9 Hours
|9 to 10 Hours
|4 to 5 Hours
Common Problems That Hinder Infants and Toddlers from Sleeping
What Happened to Monday? - A Parents Sleep Guide for Grade Schoolers
Not only do infants and babies need sleep, but most especially kids who are ready to go to school. Because school is where teachers grade children based on their performance, sleep (among other important factors) can help them do their best. Sadly, it is also at this age where your kids will encounter major changes regarding their sleeping behaviors. After preschool, your children are introduced to school obligations and more homework, which will inevitably lead to later bedtimes.
For your grade-schoolers, there is a change in their REM sleep compared to when they were infants or toddlers. They spend significantly less time in the REM stage, and spend more time on the N3 stage, which is when we are already in deep sleep. And your busy, school-aged kids need all the deep sleep they can get.
One of the hardest transitions when it comes to sleep for children at this age is at the start of the school year. During the holidays or in the summertime, children have laxed sleeping schedules. However, when the school starts again, this gets disrupted and they are transitioning back to a strict sleeping schedule. And that’s why on Mondays, when classes resume after the weekend, parents the world over are greeted with busier, more frantic mornings and school-aged children announcing that they are simply “not ready” for school.
The lack of sleep or the difficulties in transitioning sleeping schedules can affect your children immensely. It can affect their learning, alertness, and memory. Researchers from the University of Warwick have found that lack of sleep can also cause depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and poor cognitive performance, among children. Nevertheless, healthy sleeping is sometimes all it takes for kids to perform better in class.
It goes without saying that proper sleeping habits for your children provides benefits other than learning. Helping them achieve a healthy sleeping habit while they are developing can do them good in the long run.
Common Problems that Hinder Grade Schoolers from Sleeping
Live by Night: A Parents Sleep Guide for Teenagers
When it comes to dealing with teens regarding their sleeping habits, it is first important to know that they need about nine hours of sleep every night to function well during the day. This is because teenagers experience high physical and mental demands, although only a small percentage of teens actually sleep that long during school nights. A lack of sleep could lead to major consequences in their future.
There are plenty of things that can hinder teens from sleeping. Two of the major problems is an abundance of homework and projects from school, and trying to have an active social life. Although, the biological sleep pattern changes when kids are in their adolescence. This means that it is natural for them not to feel sleepy at 10 or 11 in the evening. However, almost all teenagers suffer from irregular sleeping behavior weekly.
High school is a crucial time for teens and sleep. Sleep deprivation usually starts at this point of their lives. Without an adequate amount of sleep, teens cannot perform their best. Additionally, sleep deprivation can cause issues like obesity, irritability, anxiety, poor grades, and depression.
Common Problems that Hinder Teens from Sleeping
Sleep is important for everyone – and more so for children and teens. It is vital that all of us get the amount of sleep that is required of us every night. This helps us to perform better at work, school, and with life, in general. The phrase “sleep is for the weak” is often viewed as a negative comment. However, when you really think about it, after a long and tiring day, young or old, children or adults – our bodies grow tired; in other words, we get weak. So, the statement technically has a ring of truth to it.
Getting the right amount of sleep plays a vital role in our lives. Let us all embrace sleep and teach our kids important sleep habits to help them be at their best every day.
Want to know more? Contact us now and let us help you!