There is a lot of information out there that teaches you how to be a good parent. It talks about how to deal with tantrums, stubbornness, how to improve cognitive development, how to feed your child well and so on. There are so many issues you have to begin addressing as parents and the first thing to do is find the root of these issues. As with all roots, it lies in the dark.
Sleep, or the lack of it, is one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed by parents. It is a behaviour that is to be observed from infancy to the later years of the child’s life. It is one of the biggest contributing factors to the cognitive and physical development of the child. Here’s why all parents need to take a good hard look into the sleeping behaviours of their children.
Sleep and Cognitive Development
The cognitive development of a child begins in its infancy. It is observed that infants who slept less than 12 hours a day experienced poorer cognitive and language skill at two years. This is because there is a lot of activity in the brain during sleep and therefore, resulting in cognitive and memory consolidation. REM sleep is important as it is during this stage that the brain is active.
As they grow up, children who struggle to sleep have trouble paying attention in school. They have behavioural issues and are mostly irritable. During sleep, memories are reactivated and transferred from short term to long term. Sleep deprivation can make them forgetful, impacting their academic performance. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to provide a good sleeping environment for their child. Clinically proven products are available in the market to foster good sleep at any age.
Sleep and Physical Development
80% of the growth hormone ‘somatotropin’ is released during the Non-REM stage of sleep. Lack of sleep can create a deficiency in the production of the growth hormone. The growth of a child can be slowed down or stunned by sleep deprivation. It not only affects the child’s height but also the weight, lung strength and immune system.
It is important for parents to ensure that children sleep well throughout the night. If they have trouble sleeping, encourage naps during the day. However, the body functions much better while sleeping at night. It is critical for parents to check for good quality mattresses in the UK and compare features and reviews.
Sleep and Mental Illness
A lot of people are suffering from mental illnesses and many teenagers now fall under the category. Sleep deprivation has been perceived to be a consequence of mental illnesses like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and anxiety. However, it is also noticed that sleep problems can, in fact, be a contributing factor to mental illness.
Sleep deprivation can affect levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones causing the brain to go into chaos. It impairs thinking, emotional regulation and leads to psychiatric illnesses. The treatment of mental illness is also affected if the patient continues to lose sleep. Participants in a study with a history of insomnia were more likely to develop depression. It is important for parents to keep a watchful eye out for behavioural changes in their children. CDB oil for sleep is a revolutionary product to reduce anxiety, combat insomnia and help improve sleeping patterns. The product has no side effects and is approved by doctors.
Sleep and Obesity
Sleep deprivation is directly linked to weight gain and obesity. The hormones leptin and ghrelin become irregular with lack of sleep, leading to increased BMI. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates appetite and increases with one night of sleep deprivation. Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. It essentially sends signals to the brain that you are full. Sleep increases the level of leptin, telling your brain that you have enough energy. Lack of sleep reduces the levels of leptin and motivates you to eat more than you need.
Parents need to notice unusual appetite changes and regulate sleep cycles. Uncomfortable mattresses can often lead to sleep deprivation. Before purchasing popular brands like Kluft mattresses, it is imperative to first compare brands by features and quality of materials.
Sleep and Immune System
Sleep is essentially important for the body to rest, repair and heal. The relationship between sleep and the effective functioning of the immune system is quite complex. Sleep deprivation fundamentally suppresses the immune system. With increasing sleepless nights, the body’s ability to fight germs and illnesses decreases, making your child more susceptible to ailments.
With each phase of sleep, our body builds the ability to function efficiently. In a completely relaxed state, our body takes the initiative to repair damaged tissue and regrow new tissue. It is not through sleeping more but with sleeping efficiently does the body function the way it needs to. Parents can visit mattress brands, carpets and rug stores and do sufficient research to create a relaxing, nurturing sleeping environment for their child.
Sleep and Risk of Injury
Children who don’t get sufficient sleep are groggy, clumsy and tired. They may not be able to react to emergencies at the same speed. This can lead to children getting frequently injured and requiring medical attention. It can also slow down the process of healing from an injury. A research conducted among student athletes found that sleep hours was the strongest predictor of injuries.
It is a vital part of parenting to take on an active role in determining the sleeping behaviour of the child. In case symptoms of sleep deprivation are noticed, parents need to immediately encourage the child to use relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help them sleep faster. The best way to combat insomnia is to create rigid sleep schedules from a very young age.
Healthy Sleeping Rituals
It is never too late to start healthy sleeping rituals. It can be beneficial for both, the parent and the child. Some healthy sleep rituals include relaxing music, warm chamomile tea, avoiding caffeine and sugary treats, a warm bath and an active life. It is a lifestyle change and would require you to take a closer look at how you treat your body. Physical exercise during the day can also help you fall asleep faster.
Reading stories in a tranquil voice to your child is not only a relaxation exercise but also a bonding opportunity. It is imperative to take time out to ensure that the child feels safe, comfortable and protected during the night. Anxieties during the day can often keep the child up at night if they are unable to process their emotions thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to spend time with your child every day, asking about their day and consciously creating a safe space for them to disclose information.