The amount of sleep an individual needs varies from person to person. While adults can survive with little or no sleep, children on the other hand require sleep for their mental and physical development. An overtired child will not always appear drowsy, they may sometimes be even more hyper which can be one of the reasons parents are not able to tell if their child is sleep deprived.
Numerous studies have shown that children who did not get enough sleep during their early years were more likely associated with having higher hyperactivity scores and various cognitive deficits. During the time when a child is sleeping, that is the time when our body releases a hormone called the human growth hormone. This hormone is responsible for the growth and development of all parts of our body. When a child’s sleep is compromised, the level of growth hormone that their body has is greatly affected.
Children who do not get enough sleep are also at a higher risk of developing obesity, higher cortisol levels and chronic conditions like diabetes. Sleep deprivation also means difficulty concentrating and failing grades at school.
Signs that your child not getting enough sleep include not being able to get up in the morning, crankiness, fatigue and decreased performance at school.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides some guidelines on how much sleep is recommended according to the different age groups:
Some tips to create healthy sleeping habits in your children include:
Reduce Screen Time: It is recommended to turn off all TV’s/laptops/ ipads 60 minutes before bed time. Also these devices should be kept out of children's bedrooms during the night time.
Make it a Routine: Always have a routine before going to bed- brush, read, sleep and also try to have a set time for bedtime is everyday so that they know and are comfortable with their routine.
Create a Sleep Safe Environment: Don’t make your child’s bed a place of play, or a place to eat. There should not be any toys on the bed, the bed should only be associated with sleeping so that once your child lays on it he knows its bedtime and nothing else.
Learn to recognize sleep deprivation: Learn to recognize signs of sleep deprivation in your child. Talk to their teacher about his/her attention and performance in class so that you have a better idea of what you can improve on.