Kids' Corner: Why Your Kid Needs Enough Sleep.

Kata Kata

Admin | Posted On : 04-11-2022

You may not be the first to have heard that loud screaming at night from your neighbour. Yes, the screaming from a child, trying to resist going to bed or the parent, mainly the mother, forcing the child to obey the law of nature. Some kids need cuddling before they sleep, while others, especially school-going children, must be taken to bed by force. Yet to some, soothing is that magic that sends them to sleep. The home battle is not unusual, nor is the coercion to sleep. Sometimes the parents win the bedtime war, while in some cases, they succumb to the will of their children, who often would not like to go to bed early enough. Late sleep may translate to insufficient sleep, which has dangerous health repercussions. 

Modern Technologies

Modern addictive technologies like phones and televisions have worsened the situation, with most children prefer watching cartoons or movies and play games until it is late. Most parents allow them to watch television before bedtime to relax and fall asleep faster. Unfortunately, many research works have proved the opposite. According to a poll conducted amongst children between 8 to 17 years, the time a child spends sleeping decreases by 30 minutes when viewing television before bed. Another study published in the journal Infant Behaviour and Development indicated that children who watch TV as part of their night-time routine receive less sleep. Furthermore, they have more sleeping problems, subsequently more significant attention challenges, and show excessive aggressive behaviour. According to Vicki Dawson of The UK's Children's Sleep Charity, sleep is critical in ensuring that children reach their most tremendous potential in all aspects of their lives.

A typical child has a lot to accomplish, from attending classes, looking after their animals, playing with their peers, attending sporting or other events, and doing homework. Their bodies need a break at the end of the day, most importantly, sleeping in preparation for the body for the following day. The health and early development of children depend on getting enough sleep. Sleeping time varies for each kid, depending on their age. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends 12-16 hours for children under one year, 12-16 hours for kids aged 1-2 years, 10-13 hours for children between 3-5 years, 9-12 hours for kids aged 6-12 years and 8-10 hours for teenagers.

Danger and Advantages

You may ask why sufficient sleep is vital for kids. A child goes through a lot of development in the first few years of life, which impacts their brain, body, emotions, and behaviour and lays the groundwork for future growth throughout childhood and adolescence. Due to this developmental process, it is recommended that parents ensure their children, whether their infants or young children, get the necessary amount of sleep.

Children with enough sleep tend to grow faster than their peers who sleep for fewer hours. This development is based on growth hormones released when kids sleep by pituitary glands in the brain. Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh have discovered that natural growth hormone is released during deep sleep. The American Children's National Medical Center's Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine, also points out that growth hormone is largely secreted during deep sleep. A child may have delayed growth if their body does not release enough growth hormones. In most cases, lack of enough sleep may lead to slow growth. Italian researchers have also discovered that children with low growth hormones sleep less soundly than regular kids.

Researchers have equally linked sleep to kids' behaviours. Kids who sleep for the recommended hours behave better than their colleagues who do not get enough sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine research, kids who fight or bully other kids at school are more likely to have sleep deficiency. The study found that children with lousy behaviour experienced sleep problems twice more frequently than their pals who had a night of adequate sleep. Another study published in American Academic Paediatrics made a disturbing observation. It showed that parents and teachers reported more severe behavioural difficulties in seven-year-old kids who did not get enough sleep throughout their toddler and preschool years compared to peers who got the recommended amount of sleep during those years.

Moreover, research has discovered that sleep acts as an anti-body against infections. Children produce proteins known as cytokines during sleeping, which the body uses to fight infection, disease, and stress. The quantity of cytokines a child grows lowers when they do not receive adequate sleep, reducing the body's ability to fight germs. The level of cytokines is not limited to children; adults who sleep less than seven hours per night are nearly three times more likely to contract a cold than those who sleep eight or more hours.

According to education experts, sleep increases learning in children of all ages. Learners who need more sleep are more likely to remember what they have learned than their counterparts with adequate rest. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst taught the Memory-like game to 40 pre-schoolers. The children then alternated between staying awake and taking an average 77-minute nap each week. They kept all the information when they napped but only 15 per cent of it when awake. The youngsters performed better in the game the next day and when they had just woken up.

Lastly, according to a study, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at 6 are three times more likely to have consistently slept less than 10 hours each night before age three. Children with ADHD also appear to be more susceptible to the negative consequences of insufficient sleep. Compared to parents without ADHD children, parents of children with ADHD are roughly three times more likely to report that their child has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. However, studies have shown that school-age children who get as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep every night are better able to control their moods and urges and concentrate on their work.

We must not underestimate the importance of sleep. Healthy sleep contributes significantly to children's learning, growth, and attentiveness. To make sure their kids are healthy and nothing is impeding their development, parents make sure their children start with having an adequate sleep. That would require ensuring their kids adhere to the medically recommended sleeping hours; by so doing, parents lay a solid foundation for their children's future health, behaviour and academic presentations.