Please welcome Guest Contributor from Tuck Sleep, Sara Westgreen, with this important information for parents:
5 Ways Sleep Helps Your Child Learn and Grow
A good night’s sleep is just as important as eating a nutritious diet.
However, most kids between the age of five and 12 need 10 or 11 hours of sleep a night but only get about 9 1/2 hours. There are a lot of reasons that your child needs to get a good night’s sleep, and here are five of them.
Kids Grow Overnight
Kids do most of their growing overnight, thanks to the growth hormone that is secreted during deep sleep.
The more deep sleep that your child gets, the better they will grow in the long term. They won’t grow to be a giant if they are sleeping more than usual, but they will grow to the height that they are designed to be as long as all of the other factors are there.
Grows Proteins to Fight Germs
It’s no surprise that when you don’t sleep well, you are more likely to get sick. That is because the human body produces a type of protein called cytokines while we sleep. Cytokines fight infection, stress, and illness, and also make us tired to help us heal.
The more sleep that the human body gets, the healthier a number of cytokines their body produces. Since kids are constantly in contact with other humans at school and at home, this is especially important for them.
If your child is particularly clumsy or impulsive, it might be because they are not getting enough sleep every night.
Kids who do not get enough sleep regularly are far more likely to be injured badly enough to need medical attention compared to their well-rested agemates.
Increased Attention & Better Mood
A child who has slept well is going to be much more pleasant to be around than one who has not. They are also more likely to pay better attention and store better memories, thanks to their time spent asleep.
This is the reason that sleep testing is an important part of being tested for attention deficit hyperactive disorder.
Adding an additional 27 minutes of sleep per night could be the key to helping your child be more attentive and pleasant for everyone else to deal with in the long term.
Be More Creative
REM sleep encourages creativity by making it significantly easier for our brains to solve problems creatively and find previously unrecognized links between things that we already know.
REM sleep is the deepest level of sleep that our brain falls into and is essential to feeling rested in the morning. If your child is struggling to fall into REM sleep, you might want to try offering a white noise machine to them see if that will help them sleep more deeply and wake up less often in the middle of the night.
If your child is struggling in school and struggling to sleep, you should definitely talk to a pediatrician to see if there is a different medical reason for the sleep trouble, and to find possible solutions for this problem.
Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.