What Does Sleep Do for a Growing Child?

What does sleep do for a growing child?
In 2010, the American Medical Association and American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognized insufficient sleep in adolescents as a serious health risk. Children of all ages require sleep for brain development, mental health and physical health.  Sleep deprivation is common in teens, who are trying to balance school, social activities, work and extracurricular events. However, younger children can also develop irregular sleep schedules, which affects their growth development. Learn more about the importance of sleep for children.
 
States of Sleep
Rapid eye movement (REM) is called active sleep. It’s during REM sleep that dreaming happens. Brains are active during REM. It’s during this sleep cycle when children can wake up because REM sleep is a light sleep.
 
Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) is the quiet sleep cycle when the body repairs itself. Blood supply to the muscles is increased. Your body releases hormones during NREM sleep for growth development. It’s a time of restoration for your body.
 
Babies spend about 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep, compared to adults who spend about 20% of their sleep time in REM. Both types of sleep are essential to a child’s development.
 
How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?
Children need varying amounts of sleep. Babies spend over half their day sleeping while teenagers only need about 9.5 hours of sleep each night. The best way to tell if your child is sleeping enough is to pay attention to how they act when they are awake. If your child falls asleep in the car during the day or is cranky and irritable when awake, it could mean that they are sleep deprived.
 
Being a child is hard work. Children are busy learning and have many cognitive needs. Insufficient sleep leads to mental health issues, behavioral problems and increased obesity. It’s essential to your child’s growth to have healthy sleep habits.
 
Sleep Tips to Help Children Have a Good Night.
  • Have a bedtime routine and consistent sleep schedule.
  • Make your child’s bedroom an environment that is conducive to sleep. It should be dark, quiet and cool.
  • Keep TVs and electronics out of the child’s bedroom.
  • Provide lots of activities for your child to stimulate their body and brain.
  • Don’t soothe a child by putting him or her to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Use water if you must.
  • Avoid caffeine.
Sleep is important to a child’s behavioral development. Get more information about sleep deprivation in children and how your dentist can help.

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