Zzzzz… Sleeping… don’t we all sometimes just wish we could lie in bed and sleep all day? That is what the weekend are for, right?
In this day and age, we are too occupied with our gadgets and medias that it takes away precious times that would be better spent on a good night sleep. As much as it effects adults, it is also affecting young children especially those who are given free reign of their media usage. Before we know it, it starts to become a habit.
Humans in general are creatures of habit. Who we are now; our personality, behaviours, and health are all result of years of habits, both good and bad. As parents it is important to foster good habits in our children so they may reap the benefits when they are older.
Children and habits.
Naturally, young children will develop their own habits based on their daily experience and routine.
Some of the habits developed by children were formed as a stress reliever. Habits such as thumb sucking, or nail biting are often done to provide comfort to the child when they are feeling uncomfortable or stressed.
One habit that is good to instil is sleeping on time. It is also helpful when the time comes for your children to start school. Forming this habit since a young age can make it easier to wake them up the next day to prepare for school.
Sleeping Is the Key.
The key to a healthy waking is getting enough sleep at night. Developing a habit of waking up early in the morning but still lacking in sleep is a recipe for disaster especially for your young child’s mental and physical development.
Having a proper sleep routine is an essential part of healthy living. However, as we get older, we often find ourselves lacking sleep. To lack sleep is causing harm to our mind and body. Effects of sleep deprivation may not be immediate, but it will eventually take a toll on your overall health.
In short, not getting enough sleep is bad for everyone of all ages. It’s also important to note that the first 2 years of child’s life is a crucial development period so make sure your child gets enough sleeping hours daily.
Children Sleeping Hours:
Effects of Not Enough Sleep in Children:
Poor Frontal Lobe Brain development
The frontal lobe part of the brain is responsible for decision-making, language expression, and movement. Not getting the required amount of sleep can cause this part of the brain to develop poorly. This development is affected the most when your child is in their teenage years.
Poor development of the frontal lobe may cause your child to have short attention-span and faulty memory functions which will indirectly affect your child’s academics.
Being cranky and moody when one lacks sleep seems to start from an early age. Young infants lacking sleep can result in your baby throwing tantrums or cries more often.
Research findings reveal that a lot of children who lacks sleep develops behavioural problem. Kids that are sleep deprived is easily irritated and stressed which makes them grumpy and hyperactive.
According to researchers, lack of sleep contributes to the reduction of memory performance. You may find your child to be forgetful. Your child may also face difficulties to retain new information which cause them to have a harder time when studying.
Increased Risks of Health Issues
When the body and mind lack rests, it will start to function abnormally. Not getting proper sleeping hours during early childhood may affect your child’s immune system.
Overtime, this can develop into health diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
Research also shows that getting insufficient sleep for children and teenagers are linked to them developing anxiety and depression.
Your Baby and Sleep
Similarly to children and adults, sleeping is an important part of your baby’s development. Sleeping enough makes your baby more agreeable and less fussy when they are awake. Their appetite will also be better which is an important factor in their development.
Circadian rhythm is a natural pacing that your body use to regulate your metabolism, alertness, and energy. In other words, it is like an internal clock. The main duty of the circadian rhythm is to prepare your body to stay awake or go to sleep.
For a newborn baby the circadian rhythm is not yet available. If you are wondering why your little one sleeps and awakes at peculiar hours, this is the reason. Your baby will gradually pace their circadian rhythm after a few months.
Note: Your baby may wake up at night and that is okay. Try not to pick them up and simply pat them back to sleep. If they are crying, they may be uncomfortable, hungry or needing a diaper change.
Establishing the Rhythm for Your Baby
You can (and you should) help your baby to develop a healthy circadian rhythm. A good circadian rhythm means your baby sleeps soundly at night and is fresh and full of energy in the morning and not the other way around.
Tips to Promote Sleep:
1. Set the Room
As the brain uses the signals from the environment to regulate hormones in the body, it is best to create the mood for sleeping. When tucking in your little one, make sure the room is dimmed-out and quiet.
The contrast in the day and night environment helps the brain to differentiate between the two period. So it prepares the body to rest during the night and to be active during the day.
2. Give Your Toddlers Control
When your baby is in the toddler stage, they may feel reluctant to go to sleep because they feel like they will miss out on things. Try to approach sleeping by letting them choose their pyjama or bedtime stories.
You can also prepare blankets or stuffed toys to lend them a sense of extra security.
3. Put the Gadgets Away
If you are allowing your toddlers to use devices, you should put them away 1-2 hours before bed. This encourages the body to release melatonin which induces sleep. This includes television too! You will find it easier to do this if you do the same with your own gadgets.
4. More Exposure in The Day
To encourage more sleep in the night, expose your child to more sun in the day. Play with them an arouse them to get them moving and active. Get them involved together with you when you are doing your daily activities.
This not only will tire them out, but it also helps in setting the environment for daytime. Contrary to peaceful night-time, daytime should be lively and social.
5. Make It A Routine
Try to put your baby to sleep at the same time every day. This can help with the internal clock or circadian rhythm to adjust accordingly. You may have a harder time pulling this off on babies in their first few months since they have not fully develop their biological rhythm but after a few months, you will start to see the results.