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Dealing with Sleep Deprivation for Children

Sleeping is an essential part of development for every person. It’s an important part of everyone’s daily routine and should be taken seriously. After a long day of activities, the body needs to recharge and rest through healthy food intake and a good night’s sleep. When a person has slept well, they will wake up more refreshed the next morning and ready to take on the new day.

However, it is not more common for people to sacrifice their precious sleep and the numbers have been rapidly growing over the recent years. There can be many reasons for this but the most common one has to do with gadgets and the time spent on them. Many children have even pulled all-nighters just to play their games or watch videos through their gadgets. This has become a problem for many parents as more and more studies have revealed that lack of sleep can affect a child’s growth in many ways.

How much sleep is needed?

With regards to how much sleep a person needs, studies have given varying answers. For children, as they are still growing, it largely depends on their age and how well they can function with lesser hours of sleep.

• Newborns

Newborns probably need the most sleep in all the age groups for children. Babies should be able to get at least 13 hours of sleep and can go even up to 18 hours if possible. In this stage of growth, sleep is very important for them. By the time they reach their first years, they should be sleeping for at least 12-14 hours a day.

• Toddlers

Newborns probably need the most sleep in all the age groups for children. Babies should be able to get at least 13 hours of sleep and can go even up to 18 hours if possible. In this stage of growth, sleep is very important for them. By the time they reach their first years, they should be sleeping for at least 12-14 hours a day.

• Preschoolers

Children aged 3 and above should need about 10-12 hours of sleep every day. It’s understandable that at this age, they are more inclined to play and explore but they also should still mind their sleep. Parents can continue with the children’s naptime but they can reduce the hours of the nap or stop it altogether so they can spend more sleep at night.

• Primary school children

Primary school children aged 6-12 years should be getting at least 9-10 hours of sleep every day. At this point, however, they will also start to use more of their gadgets or watch television so this can be a bit of a challenge for parents.

Sleep and the child’s health

Several studies have proved that good sleep enables a person to perform and focus better the next day. For children, it is very important so they can function their best and help them with their bodies’ growth and development. Aside from that, we have also gathered some reasons as to why good sleep is important for children’s health.

  1. Good sleep helps with the body’s immune system and helps ensure that the body stays healthy and active.
  2. Sleep also helps with the body’s repair. This can be more seen in the carrying of oxygen in the blood and blood vessel repair that can help make sure the body is better and calm. Lack of sleep can also pose risks for future diseases in the heart, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.
  3. Deep sleep releases a hormone in the child’s body that helps ensure they can grow healthy and their muscle mass, cells, and tissues also develop properly.
  4. Speaking of hormones, good sleep can also help with the balancing of hormones. Lack of sleep can affect the body’s hormones and for children can cause them to become hungrier than before as it disrupts their hormones and as a result, can lead to obesity.

What happens when children are sleep-deprived?

As mentioned above, lack of sleep can affect a person’s performance the next day. For children, this can affect how they perform in school the next day. Aside from their performance in learning, it can also affect their physical health and can put them at risk as they get older.

In school, a child may be unable to focus on their lessons because they are sleepy from not getting enough rest from the night before. Focus is very important in learning; it can ensure the student digests the lesson and help retention better. And so, if they are lacking sleep, their attention can switch elsewhere and can cause them to miss some important details the teacher may have given. As such, because they lack focus, they may also have trouble concentrating on certain tasks that require their attention and focus.

As such, when the child gets home, they wouldn’t be able to properly recall their lessons of the day because of sleep deprivation. They will be more focused on their thoughts of sleep rather than remembering what they have learned for the day. Studies have also shown that memories are better formed during sleep. If they are getting enough sleep, they will be able to recall the events of the previous day better than those who are sleep-deprived.

Additionally, sleep deprivation can also cause hyperactivity in some children, causing their attention to be scattered in different places. This will again affect their concentration and focus. However, the bouts of energy wouldn’t last long for these children and they can also easily feel fatigued. Because they lack sleep and they have been using all the energy they have stored, they will need to rest immediately and can fall asleep if they remain stationary.

Signs the child is sleep-deprived

It’s easy to identify if the child is losing sleep if the parents are aware of what they were doing before bedtime. However, some children can also hide the fact that they have been playing games or watching videos when they should be sleeping. This is why parents should also be on the lookout for these signs in children who are sleep-deprived.

  • They are inattentive and perform slower with cognitive tasks.
  • They make poor judgments usually followed by poor decisions.
  • They lack motivation for activities and tasks.
  • They also show more signs of irritation more than they normally do.
  • They easily get tired and show signs of fatigue.
  • They lack the focus to keep up with things around them and usually get left out because they couldn’t catch up.

How parents can help children get enough sleep

If the signs above are evident in your child, then there is a high chance they are sleep deprived. However, don’t fret. We’ve gathered some tips to help make sure children get enough hours of sleep they need.

1. Sleeping space

Where the child sleeps is an important factor in making sure they get enough sleep. Make sure that their bedroom is comfortable for them to sleep in. It’s also recommended that bedrooms be dark, quiet, and cool to help children go to sleep naturally. If the child has trouble sleeping, parents can also help by playing calming and soothing tunes in the background to help lull them to sleep.

2. Get rid of distractions

As mentioned, gadgets are the most common reason for lack of sleep for children in this day and age. However, there can also be other distractions in their rooms such as their computers or television. There have been some studies that show children and even adults should avoid using their devices before going to sleep as it can affect their sleep quality. This is why parents should make sure that the children have stopped using them before bedtime or have turned them off.

3. Develop a sleeping routine

Schedules and routines can help children greatly especially if they are well-established. Help the child with developing their own sleeping routine that can help them relax and get ready for bed. This routine can include giving them a bath so they can feel more comfortable and relaxed before bed or they can also read books or parents can sing them lullabies before sleep. This can help the child slow down and relax and get ready for bedtime.

4. Establish a sleeping and waking up schedule

Schedules and routines can help children greatly especially if they are well-established. Help the child with developing their own sleeping routine that can help them relax and get ready for bed. This routine can include giving them a bath so they can feel more comfortable and relaxed before bed or they can also read books or parents can sing them lullabies before sleep. This can help the child slow down and relax and get ready for bedtime.

5. Regulate naps

Schedules and routines can help children greatly especially if they are well-established. Help the child with developing their own sleeping routine that can help them relax and get ready for bed. This routine can include giving them a bath so they can feel more comfortable and relaxed before bed or they can also read books or parents can sing them lullabies before sleep. This can help the child slow down and relax and get ready for bedtime.

Conclusion

Children need all the help they can get to make sure they can grow up and develop healthily. Sleep deprivation can be a major problem if not dealt with properly and quickly. It can not only affect the child’s health but also their performance with everyday activities. If the tips above don’t work, parents can take the next step and consult the child’s pediatrician or a sleep expert to help them with their sleeping problems. Every second count especially for growing children and parents should be proactive in helping their children develop healthy sleeping habits.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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