Whatever your age is, sleep is a vital part of life. Without it, the body and mind will shut down. But there are times when people forget its importance and they neglect to have proper rest. Aside from adults who disregard the value of a good night’s sleep, another pressing matter is about sleep loss in children.
Children and Sleep
In both kids and adults, sleep is a crucial part of existence. During slumber, a number of fundamental biological processes occur, including cell renewal and restoration. Sleep is even more important in children because their minds and bodies are still growing and developing. Lack of sleep in kids can have various negative effects depending on a child’s age. Babies and toddlers experience fussiness and irritability, while older children could suffer from mental and emotional troubles, as well as health issues. Some pediatric experts suggest that sleep loss can even increase blood pressure.
Sleep and Hyperactivity
When an adult lacks sleep, the usual effect would be lethargy. That is the most familiar outcome. But in children, it is different. Sleep loss does not typically make them tired, though it causes them to become distracted and forgetful. More importantly, not having enough shuteye can make them hyperactive.
Medical experts, who specialize in pediatrics and psychiatry, have learned that some children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) do not necessarily have it. They actually suffer from sleep deprivation. A child with ADHD, a condition that generally begins during childhood, is inattentive and impulsive. He has difficulty controlling his emotions, has poor social skills and has difficulty in school. He also won’t be able to sit still in class and he is unable to perform well too. Others also display signs of aggression.
It is very important to determine whether a child suffers from sleep loss or ADHD. ADHD is an incurable condition, but the symptoms can be alleviated by medications. On the other hand, a sleep-deprived child who demonstrates the same symptoms of ADHD can readily recover with proper rest.
Improving a Child’s Sleep Habits
Here are some helpful tips for developing better sleep habits in children.
1. Have a bedtime routine:
Children, especially toddlers, need to have a regular routine before bedtime. Certain activities give them clues that indicate that they have to be in bed soon. For example, parents can encourage their kids to have a warm bath and tell them to brush their teeth after dinner so that they can stay up a little bit longer for a nice story before slumber.
When teaching your child about good bedtime habits, remove things that might arouse their interest. Turn the television off and don’t allow them to play with their gadgets before going to sleep or while they’re in bed. Also, refrain from giving them sugar-rich desserts during or after dinner because these will make them even more energetic.
2. Create a sleep-conducive bedroom:
Parklane Mattresses, which offers consumers a wide variety of mattresses and bedroom accessories, state that a good night’s sleep is closely related to good health. Most professionals agree as well. In order for a child to be able to enjoy a restful night, his bedroom must be free from anything that might incite his interest, such as scattered toys, crayons or books. So, an organized bedroom helps in encouraging better sleep. Aside from that, the bed, pillows and other accessories must contribute to his comfort too.
3. Encourage self-soothing:
If, for instance, a child is used to having her mother put her to sleep, she might delay her sleeping time because she has trouble going to sleep without her mom who might still be busy with domestic duties or work. This isn’t good for the little one. In order to support independence and in order to slowly train a child to sleep on her own, a parent must encourage self-soothing. One vital step is to put a child to bed while she’s drowsy but still awake. Do not allow her to sleep on you, and avoid rocking or patting her to sleep because such activities can make her even more dependent.