Too little restorative sleep causes children of all ages to be dull, sickly, prone to outbursts, hyper, prone to risk-taking behavior and overweight. In fact, the same symptoms can be found in adults who don't get enough restorative sleep.
Parents of newborns realize the importance of sleep for the proper development of the child. Too little sleep causes a baby to be cranky and uncooperative. Recent studies prove that children with behavior problems can improve with established sleep cycles. The best course of action is to establish a regular sleep schedule now, based on the age of the child.
Sleep is the best, free and natural medicine that a person of any age can benefit from immediately. National Institutes of health has this to say about sleep:
Studies show that a good night's sleep improves learning. Whether you're learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
It isn't a mystery that sleep is vital to all life. People who get regular, consistent sleep night after night are healthier, happier and more intelligent. It is while the body is at total rest that the brain forms new pathways. Sleep heals the body from daily stress and physical activity. Without sleep, the body falls prey to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke and other chronic disease.
From newborns to teens to adults, sleep is a vital tool for proper functioning of the mind and body. Poor sleep habits equal learning disabilities, a weakened immune system, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, impulsive actions and acting out.
If the body can't repair itself through sleep, it is continuously wearing itself down until the body just stops functioning altogether.
Parents must establish regular sleep habits for babies, children and teens. Hectic schedules can interfere with bedtime routines occasionally, but it must not be allowed to become the norm. Whatever the child or parent needs to give up for the sake of sleep, it has to be done. Anything less is child neglect.
The Mayo Clinic gives the number of hours of sleep needed by age. Most parents would be shocked by the amount of sleep needed for children to restore their brains and bodies to good health and optimal functioning.
Tips for restorative sleep:
- The bedroom should be totally dark.
- Remove distractions such as television, computers, cell phones and games.
- Begin preparing for bed an hour before bedtime by getting a warm bath or shower, putting on sleep clothes, drinking warm milk and scenting the room with lavender and chamomile.
- Increase sleep time by 15-minute intervals until the child is able to wake without assistance.
It will take time for children to establish better sleeping routines, but the payoff is so profound that any inconvenience is worth the trouble.