Why do kids need sleep

OptiStart Chiropractic
July 13, 2018

Sleep is essential for everyone to grow, develop and function. Sleep is essential in 7 key ways for babies and children. They are

1.     Sleep promotes growth.

The Human growth hormone is predominantly secreted during deep sleep. Babies spend 50% of the time in this deep sleep which is adequate for their growth and development.

 2.     Sleep helps the heart.

Researchers have found that in children with sleep disorders their blood glucose and cortisol are high at night. This is linked to higher levels of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

3.     Sleep affects weight

Sleep deprivation affects the hormone leptin, which signals us to stop eating. When this hormone isn’t doing it’s job kids don’t know when they are full. Similar to adults, when kids are sleep deprived they crave high fat and carb food and become more sedentary so won’t burn the extra calories.

4.     Sleep helps kids beat germs

During sleep children produce proteins known as cytokines, the body relies on these to fight infection, illness and stress. When the body is sleep deprived, studies have shown that is produces less cytokines which makes us more susceptible to illness.

5.     Sleep reduces injury risk

Kids are clumsier and more impulsive when they don’t get enough sleep. One study showed that children who had less than nine hours of sleep were more likely to demand medical attention from accidents than those who had enough sleep.

6.     Sleep increases a child’s attention span

Children who consistently are sleep deprived are more likely to develop hyperactivity and impulsivity problems. Adding as little at 27 minutes to a school aged childs sleep can have a dramatic impacts on a childs ability to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus better

7.     Sleep boosts learning

A baby may look peaceful while they are sleeping but their brains are busy all night long. Studies have shown that babies actually learn in their sleep and in children it is when they process everything they have learnt all day.

The following is the recommendation of sleep for babies and children.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours