Probably you’ve noticed a pale, conceded look in your children’s faces, an elevation in their moodiness, substantial subsidence in their overall performance, and you are thinking: Where did it all go wrong? Well, it’s all in their negative sleeping habits! Sleep is vital for all, but when it comes to children, then this vitality is raised a notch higher. Children, unlike adults, are still on the growth and development stage. Often at times, the growth hormone is stimulated and released at night, hence incurring development.
Bad, irregular sleeping habits can have long term effects on a child’s healthy living, educational performance, and social skill development, as well. Below are the diverse consequences of sleep deprivation or bad sleeping patterns in children:
- A decline in academic performance – Sleep has intriguing effects on a child’s health, memory, and emotions. Consequently, sleep deprivation can adversely affect a child’s well being, attention, and decision making, which are required for academic success.
- Obesity – Sounds unbelievable, right? Bad, irregular sleeping patterns alter certain hormones such as cortisol, insulin, which subsequently, alter a child’s appetite, causing him/her to overeat. This can lead to adverse weight problems and obesity in children.
- Depression – Sleep deprivation or irregularity affects cortisol, a stress hormone, incurring feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, exhaustion, and stress in children.
- Illnesses – Sleep irregularity and deprivation have been linked directly to other aggressive health concerns such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- A downsize in overall performance – With all the stress, fatigue, anxiety, crankiness, memory loss, and lack of concentration associated with sleep irregularity and deprivation, a child is bound to become unhealthy, unhappy, and more interestingly, unable to read, play, and excel like other children.
Truth be told, children are prone to the same sleep deprivation habits or disruptions such as adults, which frankly, can lead to severe long-term health and emotional effects. So how does a concerned parent get rid of these irregular, bad sleeping habits?
- Activity during the day – The more active your child is during the day, the more likely they will be to fall asleep and sleep well during the night.
- Sleep routine – Establish a specific routine that your child follows each night before bedtime. Perhaps start with a nice warm bath and brushing their teeth, then hop in bed and listen to a story or listen to calming music.
- Pay attention to your child’s sleep hygiene – Establish a positive sleeping pattern; outlining the exact sleeping and waking up times, which no one should violate.
- Eliminate any distractions in the bedroom- How sleep-friendly is your child’s sleeping environment? It’s crucial to eliminate any disruptions such as televisions, computers, phones, and toys from your child’s bedroom to incorporate a sleep-friendly environment.
If you pay attention to your child’s sleep pattern and do whatever you can do to help them become sleepy, you may find that you can help improve your child’s bad sleep habits.