Do Your Children Get Enough Quality Sleep? Part 1

Posted on 06/03/2022

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to operate optimally, while children over the age of one require between 9 and 14 hours per day, depending on their age. Healthy sleep, on the other hand, demands more than just the proper number of sleep hours; it also necessitates some quality-related factors, which can be somewhat difficult to accurately measure. However, given the importance of good sleep for a child's physical and mental development, parents should do everything they can to support good sleep.

What Is a Good Night's Sleep?

Healthy sleep is hard to quantify, but it necessitates a balance of amount and quality. The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be emphasized, even though it isn't the only aspect involved in good sleep. Depending on the child's age, healthy sleep also includes unbroken nighttime sleep as well as the proper quantity and timing of any naps during the day. It also necessitates a consistent sleep pattern that is in sync with the child's internal clock (i.e. their natural biological rhythms).

What Does a Child Who Is Well-Rested Look Like?

Because the amount of sleep required to function efficiently varies from person to person and over time, the most reliable way to establish whether someone is getting enough sleep is to look at their alertness. The ideal level of alertness is somewhere between drowsy and hyper-alert. Ideal alertness is when we are keenly receptive to what is taking place around us and properly interacting with our environment; ideal alertness is when we have long attention spans and are apt to learn. Impaired alertness, on the other hand, interferes with behavior as well as with learning. What does a youngster with optimal alertness look like? "Wide-eyed," "calm," "attentive," and "nice" are some of the words that come to mind. Perhaps your youngster only shows that ideal combo on few occasions. If this is the case, your child's poor level of alertness is likely to be accompanied by learning and behavior issues.

How Do Children React When They Don't Get Enough Sleep?

Fatigue is one of the most visible instant consequences of a lack of sleep. Because children are quite sensitive to many environmental influences, even moderate sleep deprivation can produce weariness. Children can easily get over-stimulated and tired as a result of being awake for lengthy periods of time, even if they are not physically active or engaged. Most youngsters strive to stay aware and awake when they are tired. Hormones like adrenaline are produced, resulting in hyper-alertness. As most parents know from experience, this burst of energy is quickly followed by impatience or even a full-fledged meltdown. Overtired children require a lot of sleep, yet their bodies by that time often have a hard time falling asleep. And night awakenings are likely after periods of sleep deprivation due to the higher level of adrenaline remaining in their bodies. Instead of being permitted to remain up later, such a youngster requires an afternoon nap or an earlier bedtime to promote sleep before exhaustion sets in.

In Part 2 of our series, we'll look at the long-term effects of sleep deprivation and how parents may assist their children in getting enough quality sleep.

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