Posted on 14th Nov 2019
A well-rested child absorbs everything around him or her and easily interacts with others. A combination of late or erratic bedtimes, early mornings, and over-scheduled days can certainly decrease your child’s ability to get healthy sleep. Failure to get healthy sleep on a regular basis has both immediate and long-term consequences for your child.
Short-Term Results of Sleep Deprivation
If you have a child who normally gets sufficient healthy sleep, you know the difference a change in schedule, a missed nap, or an interrupted night’s sleep makes. A normally compliant child may become extremely combative, fighting or ignoring every directive. A generally happy child can become sullen and demanding. A usually friendly, sociable child will often become a hermit, lacking any desire to interact with others. A typically good student will struggle to focus on the day’s lessons at school and may receive lower-than-usual grades that day.
With such troublesome short-term results of sleep deprivation, you can expect the long-term results of a constant lack of healthy sleep to be even more disconcerting. And they are.
Long-Term Results of Sleep Deprivation
Amid the debate over correlation and cause, studies show one thing to be clear: children with higher IQs sleep longer. Healthy sleep promotes neurologic development and both helps prevent and treat a variety of learning and behavioral problems, including ADHD.
In fact, ADHD is often diagnosed merely on the basis of symptoms, many of which mirror those of sleep deprivation, making increased healthy sleep a major factor in reducing symptoms. Sometimes those diagnosed with ADHD can function optimally even without the use of medication when healthy sleep is combined with other natural therapies, such as healthy diet and physical exercise. Left untreated, those with ADHD are less likely to succeed in the classroom or gain the academic preparation needed for successful careers beyond the school years.
According to some studies, the importance of sleep to neurological development throughout childhood is tied specifically to the amount of healthy sleep that children receive during the toddler years.
What Parents Can Do To Prevent Sleep Deprivation
Like any area of parenting, careful and intentional guidance is key. Parents of young children, especially, can help by insisting on both naps and nighttime sleep before their kids show signs of fatigue. When this pattern is established early on, resistance will be far less than if it is attempted later on.
In order to foster restfulness, parents can employ the rhythms of before-nap and bedtime rituals. Many such rituals involve songs, stories, and signs of affection. Ideally, they should begin at least 20 minutes before bedtime and provide technology-free, low-key wind-down time.
The importance of unplugging from technology as bedtime nears is especially key because light-emitting screens can interfere with our circadian rhythms, making our brains think it’s time to wake up in the morning when it’s actually time for bed. Other factors in promoting healthy sleep include eliminating caffeine and sugars in the evening, as well as providing a clutter-free, safe environment that’s conducive to sleep.
Continue reading with Part 3.
From the Bedroom Source blog:
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