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The correlation between healthy children and sleep

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It’s no secret that childhood development shapes a young person to who they will become, so it is important to cultivate healthy habits. From nutrition to education, childhood growth depends on nurturing and supporting their advancement.

However, one of the most important factors in healthy childhood development is proper sleep. Introducing children to a good sleep schedule will help promote wellness that can carry over into all facets of their development.

Healthy development

Throughout the span of our lifetime, we never stop learning and growing. This development is especially important during the first years of our life; it helps to shape the person we are to become. The first several years is where children of all abilities will begin to learn to walk, talk, and understand emotional and social intelligence. It is crucial during these stages that effective parenting practices be implemented adhered to benefit the child. Effective parenting practices consist of responding to the child in a predictable manner, nurturing a sense of health and safety, and disciplining appropriately without harshness. When these ground rules are set forth, the child will develop a healthy sense of routine, offering them a solid foundation on which to build and grow. Along with teaching children healthy social and emotional skills, an emphasis on proper sleep can help children grow and thrive.

How important is sleep?

Children need their sleep in order to maintain a healthy growth trajectory. Sleep is our time to repair both our body and our brain, and kids need more sleep than most other age demographics. But still, the amount of sleep needed throughout childhood and adolescence fluctuates significantly. Up until the age of five, children should get on average 12-13 hours of sleep, with more for newborns and less for preschool-aged kids. From the ages of six to 13, the recommended amount of sleep is 9-11 hours, which drops from 8-10 once a child begins their teenage years. 

So, how can children get their best night’s sleep? Implement a routine and stick to it. A dark room free of distractions is best to promote optimal sleep, although a night light is completely acceptable if a child has a fear of the dark. Also, having a comfortable mattress can help improve the quality of sleep. It is very important to understand the different sizes of mattresses, and figure out which one is the best size for your child. Having comfortable pyjamas can aid in your child falling asleep, and can also make bedtime fun if they have a specific pair that they particularly like.

Sleep and it’s benefits

Getting little ones to bed early and regularly has tremendous benefits. According to a study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, poor sleep patterns have been positively linked to childhood obesity and diabetes, primarily within the ages of three to seven years. Regular sleep can also keep our kids healthy and free of sickness. During our slumber, we produce proteins called cytokines, which help to stave off infection and keep us running at optimal health. Perhaps one of the most important benefits of appropriate childhood sleep is an increased attention span, which can benefit kids in the classroom and also during play. When a child is well rested, they will be functioning at their highest level, as well as growing and learning to be their very best.

Author: Sarah Brookes

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