The Importance of Sleep for Children

importance of sleep for children

Sleep is vital to a young child’s development and growth. During early childhood, good-quality sleep improves a child’s learning, memory, behavior, and overall health. on the other hand, not getting enough sleep can lead to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and even anxiety and depression.

Circadian Rhythm Development

Sleep patterns in newborns are usually irregular because of circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle) needs some time to develop. Our circadian rhythm is regulated by light and dark rhythms, and these take some time to develop, which causes babies to have irregular sleep schedules. In most infants, circadian rhythms develop by three to six months, when a baby starts to sleep better at night.

Newborns typically sleep a total of 10 to 18 hours per day on an irregular schedule. You can encourage your baby to sleep less during the day by playing more with him or exposing him to moderate noise and light. In the evening, the environment should be quieter, with less activity and light.

The Importance of Sleep for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers need about 11 to 14 hours of sleep daily. Many children 1 to 5 years old experience sleep problems including nighttime fears, nightmares, or resisting to go to bed. they may also wake up during the night or sleepwalk.

To help your child sleep better, maintain a consistent bedtime routine and make this routine relaxed. Make the bedroom environment safe and cozy. Allow the use of security objects such as a stuffed animal or blanket. Keep your child’s sleep environment consistent.

Sleep is vital for toddlers and preschoolers. Studies show that children who are getting enough sleep have a strong immune system. Also, while they sleep, young children produce a growth hormone, essential for their physical development. Rested kids are able to focus better and process the skills and memories. They also tend to be happier, and more alert during the day.

A Lack of Sleep and Obesity in Children

Research shows that obesity in children and adults is closely associated with unhealthy sleep patterns. Namely, our bodies produce hunger hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is a hormone that decreases the appetite and ghrelin is a hormone that increases it.

These hormones are affected by sleep: when the body is sleep-deprived, the level of ghrelin increases, while the level of leptin drops, causing a feeling of hunger and usually craving for carbs.

Good Sleep and School Grades

School-aged children should get on average 9-11 hours of sleep. Research shows that the quality of sleep in children 6 to 13 years old is linked to school achievement. One study has found a link between the amount of sleep that 10th-12th grade students get and their school grades – according to their parents, those kids who had the least amount of sleep were also the ones with the lowest grades.

Sleep plays a vital role in a child’s memory, problem-solving skills, language development, behavior, and executive functions. Rested children tend to feel refreshed, healthier, happier, and more successful at school and sports.

At the same time, poor quality of sleep can be linked with mood swings, challenging behaviors, poor attention, and lower academic performance.

To help your child develop healthy sleep habits, continue to enforce a consistent sleep schedule. Teach your child the importance of regular sleep and make their room inviting to sleep. Make sure to keep the TV, phones, and computers out of your child’s bedroom.

It is essential for your child to get the right amount of sleep. Insisting on healthy sleep habits is the best way to ensure your child has a good-quality rest overnight.


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