No one can deny the role of sufficient deep sleep in a child’s mental and physical development. Every parent knows how imperative it is for children to have a deep sleep.
If for any reason, a child does not get proper and deep sleep, he will throw endless tantrums, be super cranky and not even eat properly.
Sleep requirement for children varies according to age.
- Babies between 4 and 12 months should stay asleep for 12 to 16 hours.
- Toddlers between 1-2 year should sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day.
- Children between 6-12 years should ideally get 9 to 12 hours of deep sleep.
- Teenagers aged 13 to 18 years should sleep 8 to 10 hours a day.
Research indicates that adequate sleep duration according to age leads to improved attention, learning, developing good growth hormones, and enhanced health.
Babies and under-teens need more sleep than adults because it supports mental and physical development. Many parents don’t know how many hours of sleep their child requires, yet they admit that their kid is not sleeping enough.
Benefits Of Deep Sleep In Children
Deep sleep is a time when your tissues are getting repaired. Human growth hormone is released in the first sleep episode at night, and this period is linked with rejuvenation. It will lead to the growth and development of your body. Here are the primary benefits of deep sleep in children.
1. Regulates Heart Rate
Research from experts reveals that sleep protects kids from vascular damage. While a child is sleeping, his/her blood pressure goes down; it gives the heart a little bit of rest.
When children do not sleep enough, their blood pressure stays high, and it can also lead to the risk of heart diseases later in life. A good night sleep helps your heart to work properly.
2. Brain Functions Properly
Deep sleep is essential for the brain so that it can perform all functions properly. A child’s brain stays active while he or she is sleeping; a deep sleep helps the nerve cells to improve their internal linking.
Recent findings also suggest that sleep plays a significant role in the eradication of toxins from the brain.
3. Reduces the Risk of Injury
Usually, kids become more impulsive when they don’t get enough sleep. Two separate studies conducted in China, USA and Iran, found that kids who are short sleepers were far more like to have injuries, and demand medical attention.
4. Boosts Brain Development
Studies disclose that children who sleep than required hours are more likely to develop reading glitches among other brain disorders.
Deep sleep helps in boosting brain growth as there is a strong correlation between sleep and neuroplasticity. Children benefit significantly from the functional changes that take place in the brain during deep sleep.
5. Boosts Learning
According to research undertaken by Columbia University Medical Center, newborn babies usually learn while sleeping. The brain of an infant is generally busy during sleep; this indicates that the nervous system testing connection is secure between the muscles and brain during deep sleep.
6. Strengthens Brain Tissues
Getting good sleep helps to enhance brain tissues and alter brain circuits known as synapses. Deep sleep in children also increases the blood supply to all muscles and aids in repairing tissues. It also strengthens their immune system.
Problems Resulting From a Lack of Deep Sleep in Children
There are several issues which are triggered by a lack of deep sleep in children. Some prominent ones are listed below:
1. Behavioral Issues
If your child has a poor sleep, their general behavior is likely to change; they become irritable, and experience increased mood swings.
A child who hasn’t taken enough sleep will typically be less happy, and more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
If a child acts irritable due to lack of sleep, then he will adopt this behavior in the future and repeat the pattern. It will also affect their social relationships in the future.
2. Injuries and Hypertension
If your child is not getting enough sleep, then it may cause hypertension, diabetes, and depression. It may also cause other health problems, which are likely to worsen with age.
3. Night Walking
Many children wake up when during their sleep. Night waking is a problem caused by insufficient sleep and an inability to get back to sleep once awake. Having disturbed sleep will lead to other issues like:
- Heart complications
- Night terrors
Regular Sleep Cycles in Children
Sleep is no less important than food or hydration in the lives of children. Many parents are not aware of regular sleep cycles in children. Light, dark, and circadian rhythms constitute a sleep cycle. Young children take time to develop their sleep patterns.
Babies need a lot of sleep, and their sleep patterns evolve with age. In very young children, regular sleep cycles repeat every 90-100 minutes. There are two primary sleep cycles:
- REM sleep, or light sleep
- Non-REM sleep, or deep sleep
REM and non-REM are the two phases of sleep that repeat multiple times; each stage can last for 45 to 60 minutes in kids and a maximum of 90 minutes in adults.
Deep or Non-REM makes up to 75% of sleep time and increases the blood supply. During light or REM sleep, (which constitutes 25% of sleep time) the brain remains active, and the heart rate stays irregular.
8 Tips for Having a Deep Sleep
American Academy of Pediatrics gives multiple guidelines and encourages parents to make sure that their children develop good sleeping habits from the start.
It is imperative to use the following tips to induce deep sleep in children to improve their overall health:
1. A Consistent Bedtime
A regular bedtime routine is vital for infants and toddlers. The same sleeping and waking time helps your child to feel relaxed. Parents must set the perfect bedtime for their child so that he/she will become sleepy on time.
2. Monitor Screen Time
There must be a specified time limit for TV, computers, tablets, and phones, especially at night. To prevent sleep disruption, parents should turn off all screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
3. Create a Sleepy Environment
You can dim the lights and refrain from filling your child’s bed with toys. It’s imperative to keep your child’s bed a relaxing place to sleep rather than a playing area.
4. Eat the right amount of food
Parents should make sure that their child has taken a sufficient evening meal at least 3 hours before going to bed. Feeling starving or too full may result in an uncomfortable sleep; it will make it harder for them to experience deep sleep.
5. Eat the Right Amount of Food
Use of comfortable mattress and pillows are essential for getting a good night’s sleep.
6. Take Time to Unwind Mentally
School-age kids usually need time to relax mentally and physically before going to bed. You can help your children to establish a relaxing routine that they can follow every night. They can take out a few minutes for simple stretching, drink a warm glass of milk, talk about their day, or read a bedtime story.
7. Avoid Caffeine Before Bedtime
Caffeine is not suitable for children. Parents should avoid giving fizzy drinks or caffeine in any form; the same is true for any beverage that contains a lot of sugar.
8. Reduce Stress Before Bedtime
There is a hormone named cortisol that plays a significant role in sleep. When the stress level gets high, your child won’t be able to sleep deeply.
So, bedtime activities must be in a calming environment; this will help in avoiding an excessive amount of cortisol in your child system.
Deep sleep is vital for children to ensure that they are alert and get proper emotional and mental development.
Numerous studies have revealed that children who suffer from a lack of sleep face behavioral problems and learning difficulties.
So, parents must invest sufficient time and effort in ensuring a consistent sleep pattern for their little ones.