However, with the increasing prevalence and accessibility of devices and screens, many children aren’t getting as much sleep as they need. Your child getting the right amount of sleep has many long and short-term benefits which will be set out below.
Processing and storing information
Like any piece of software, the brain needs to be turned off occasionally to apply updates and process information. Studies show that information learnt while awake is internalised and stored during the final stage of the sleep cycle, REM. Added to this, a well-rested mind is more receptive and engaged than a tired one, with studies showing that as little as one additional hour of sleep per night can be incredibly beneficial for knowledge retention. For young children, the knowledge gained in these first few years is the foundation that the rest of their lives and education is built on, so getting the most out of them is very important.
Kick-starts the recovery and growth process
If you’ve ever had those mornings where you could have sworn your child had grown overnight, odds are they probably did. Growth hormones are primarily secreted from the brain during deep sleep and irregular or insufficient sleep can disrupt your child’s physical growth. Added to this, the healing process for injuries such as bruises and scrapes are accelerated by a full sleep cycle.
Lowers the risk of heart disease and obesity
Heart disease and obesity can often be linked to high cholesterol levels. Lack of sleep, or disrupted sleep, is increasingly being identified as a significant contributor to these problems. Stress hormones have been proven to cause over-eating, and without a regular or sufficient pattern of sleep to recorrect the chemical imbalance, there is a higher chance that damage to cholesterol will occur. Stress has been clinically proven to reduce the production of hormones that tell us we’re full, making it easier to overindulge in high fat or high carb food.
What can you do?
Thankfully, there are many great ways to get your child tucked into bed and fast asleep at an earlier time. Tactics such as removing screen time an hour before bed, or by establishing a calming routine can be very helpful. For more information about establishing healthy sleep routines, please check out this blog.
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