One sheep… Two sheep…. 3 sheep…
Putting your child to sleep can definitely add some much-needed quiet time, however, obviously the concept of a child getting rest isn’t to benefit the parents. Sleep can help children fight obesity, avoid colds, and aide in having success in school. There is an ongoing public health goal to get more sleep both for children and adults. When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. It's when the body repackages neurotransmitters, chemicals that enable brain cells to communicate. And experts have recently been able to demonstrate that sleep allows brain cells to "take out the trash" each night, flushing out disease-causing toxins.
1)Sleep Promotes Growth
a. I am sure there are mornings where you wake up, and you strongly believe your child has gotten bigger. Well that is because it is true. Growth hormone is most strongly secreted during deep sleep. By our own human nature, babies spend about 50% of the time in this deep sleep, which is considered to be essential for adequate growth.
2)Sleep Affects Weight
a. Getting too little of sleep can cause obesity as early as infancy. By parents understanding the difference between children eating because they’re hungry, rather than using it as a soothing tool, swaddling and swinging can put a baby to sleep. Thus, the baby will not gain unnecessary weight. Worn out children eat differently then well-rested children. They crave more carbs, or higher-fat foods.
3)Sleep Fights Germs
a. During sleep, children (and adults) also produce proteins known as cytokines, which the body relies on to fight infection, illness, and stress. Therefore, the less sleep you get, the less cytokines you produce. It's been found that adults who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are almost three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to that virus than those who sleep eight or more hours.
4)Sleep Increases Attention Span
a. Children who consistently sleep fewer than ten hours a night before age 3 are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age 6. Research has shown that adding as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep per night makes it easier for them to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus on schoolwork. It is a pretty easy concept that the more rested you are, the easier it is for you to stay focused on a task.
5)Sleep Boosts Learning
a. Newborn babies are constantly learning, even when they are sleeping. Although they look so peaceful and cozy, their brain is making millions of connections all while sleeping. Sleep aids learning in kids of all ages, and education experts are finding that naps have a particular magic. Neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst taught a group of 40 preschoolers a game similar to Memory. Then the kids took a nap (averaging 77 minutes) one week and stayed awake the other week. When they stayed awake, they forgot 15 percent of what they'd learned, but when they napped they retained everything. The kids scored better on the game not only after they'd just woken up but the next day too.
Develop a routine and a time that children need to go to sleep. For example, bath, brush teeth, read a story, then lights out. Then you can set the stage, things like temperature, fan, night light, etc. Do all this, so that your child knows it is time to recharge the batteries and get some sleep!
Blake Kraussel, Director of Administration and Employee Development