The Importance Of Enough Sleep For Babies and Children
Learn the benefits of sleep, the detriments caused by a lack of sleep, and how much sleep your baby needs.
March 1st was this year's annual Baby Sleep Day. This day seeks to bring attention to the importance of a good night's rest for babies, young children, and their families.
Helping your baby or young child get enough sleep every night has so many benefits, and also makes your life as a parent a little easier, not having a grumpy, unrested child.
Sleep is just as important for babies and children as exercise and nutrition, so no doubt helping your baby get enough rest is one of the best things you can do as a parent.
Why Sleep is Important for your Baby's Health and Development
Benefits of Sleep
Sleep promotes growth. The growth hormone that helps your little one grow is mainly secreted during deep sleep. Babies spend around 50% of their time in deep sleep, and this is essential for maintaining a healthy growth scale.
Not only is sleep vital for the growth of your baby, but it plays a big role in mental development, and promotes good mental health as well.
These are the benefits of enough sleep:
- Children will tend to be more creative throughout life.
- Problem-solving skills in children increase, with the ability to think with a clear mind.
- Following a healthy sleep schedule, children are more likely to make positive decisions.
- Children are able to learn and remember new things easier.
- Enough sleep allows children to have more energy throughout the day.
- Children grow up knowing how to create and maintain healthy relationships with others.
Lack Of Sleep
Your baby or young child will experience side effects if they do not get enough sleep at night. While these issues might not always be erased with more sleep, overtime, lack of sleep does contribute to the following:
- Children will experience difficulty waking up in the morning.
- Without enough sleep during the night, a child will want to fall asleep soon after waking up.
- A tired child will yawn constantly during the day.
- There will be a feeling of tiredness throughout the day.
- A child who does not get enough sleep will choose to lie down instead of participating in activities.
- With little sleep, a child will more than likely fall asleep during school or at playgroup.
- The immune system weakens if the body does not get enough rest, resulting in the child becoming sick more often.
- A lack of motivation is common for children who do not have a steady sleep schedule.
- In extreme cases, a child will experience blurred vision when losing out on the right amount of sleep.
- A tired child will have difficulty learning and retaining new information.
- There will be an increase in irritability and stress, the same as adults experience when we do not get enough rest.
There are so many downsides for your child when they do not get enough sleep. It is important to implement a healthy sleep schedule early on, so it becomes a habit, and they can enjoy all the positives that come with enough sleep.
How Much Sleep Is Healthy?
The amount of sleep your child needs will change as they grow, so it is a good idea to keep track of how much sleep is healthy for your child, to ensure their sleeping needs are met.
Newborn – Newborns sleep a lot, and a healthy amount of sleep for them is 16 to 18 hours a day, with naps of 3 to 4 hours at a time.
Babies (2 months to 6 months) – Your baby still needs loads of sleep at this age, and should be getting 14 to 16 hours of sleep a day.
Older babies ( 6 months to 1 year) – Your baby might be on the move more, but still need a recommended 14 hours of sleep per day.
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) – Constantly busy, your toddler will need to catch up on some energy saving, with 10 to 13 hours of sleep each day.
Pre-schooler (3 to 5 years) – Pre-schoolers need around 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day to keep up with their growing body and mind.
Children (5 to 10 years) – Your child will still need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day during this age. Their body still has lots of growing to do and their mind is expanding at a wonderful rate.
We Cannot Emphasize the Importance of Sleep Enough
One of the best things you can do for your baby’s physical and emotional health is to implement a routine from early on to ensure they are getting enough sleep each day. A well-rested baby is a happy, healthy baby.