Do you feel that making your child to sleep every night is a struggle? Or that your baby not sleeping is keeping you awake on most nights? You are not alone. Research shows that nearly 70% children have difficulty in sleeping, resist bedtime, or wake up too often in the night.
But sleep is essential. Sleep problems can lead to poor health, a drop in memory functions and induce other health issues also. A healthy amount of sleep–how much a baby should sleep, or a child–is important for overall development. Here are some
Benefits of sleep for kids development
- Helps in boosting concentration power
It has been proved in many studies that kids who have proper sleep are found to be more attentive, active and have better concentration power.
- Helps In reducing behavioral problems
Yes, kids who get better sleep are found to be less hyperactive, less fatigued, less aggressive too. There is a connection between sleep and child development. This happens because when they sleep it gives rest to the whole body and which is definitely important to reduce the behavioral problems.
- Prevents childhood obesity
The hormones that suppress the hunger are determined by the quality of sleep so, if your child does not have proper sleep it will lead to more hunger pangs and to overeating.
- Releases growth hormone
Quality sleep releases growth hormones. This hormone helps in normal growth and other bodily and brain development.
- Builds up Immunity
Kids who get quality of sleep are found to be stronger and fall less sick.
How much Sleep Does a child or baby need?
- Newborns of 1-4 weeks old have tendency to sleep for 16-17 hours, however they cannot distinguish between the day and night sleep schedules.
- Newborns of 1-4 months tend to sleep the same amount of hours but they start to sleep for longer duration at night. But they wake up because of frequent feeding.
- Infants of age from 4 months to 1 year start sleeping more in night. In fact it’s the best time to develop sleep habits to your child. They take 2-3 small naps during daytime
- Toddlers till age of three require 12 hours of sleep but they often experience disturbed sleep because of the parents schedules.
- Kids who are in age from 4-6 years require about 11-12 hours but at the same time they need a small nap during the daytime.
- Kids who are in the age from 7-12 years need approximate 10 hours of sleep but they often get only 8-9 hours of sleep.
- Teenagers requires for about 8-9 hours of sleep but they are not able to meet this requirement because of high demand of school work, homework and it has mostly been found that they sleep for about 6-7 hours only.
It is not just counting the number of hours your child sleeps; make sure, when your child sleeps his/her quality of sleep is also good
Foods to help your child sleep better
- Bananas- Bananas are rich in magnesium, which helps relax the muscles, improving sleep quality. Bananas also contain melatonin and serotonin which help in regulating the sleep cycles.
- Dairy Products- Dairy products are packed with an amino acid called tryptophan which promotes good sleep not only in kids but also in adults.
- Wholegrains- When carbohydrate-based foods pass through your child’s mouth, into the stomach, insulin is released to act on the influx of the converted carbohydrate (glucose) flowing through the bloodstream. Insulin brings down the concentration of amino acid, with the exception of tryptophan. Tryptophan flows to the brain during this process, because it is not affected by insulin. When this amino acid reaches the brain, it is changed to serotonin–the hormone responsible for good sleep. You can include oatmeal, wholewheat roti, wholewheat pancakes, rice, and wholewheat pasta or a cereal that will help in regulate insulin levels to induce good sleep.
- Other foods rich in tryptophan–the sleep hormone are: Beans, chicken, spinach, fish such as Salmon and Tuna, lentils and pulses, whole eggs (Including egg yolk).
SLEEP TIPS FOR CHILDREN
If your child refuses to sleep, is afraid to sleep alone, here’s what you can do for healthy sleep habits
- Introduce good sleep habits right from the start
- Create an environment that helps the child to sleep. Keep the lights minimum, room cool and quiet and gadget-free
- Make sure that there is no TV or computer switched on which will distract sleep
- Put your child to bed at the same time on all days
- Check for pollution induced allergies, sleep apnea and sleep anxiety if your child persistently is unable to sleep
Encourage importance of sleep in your children at an early age. This will help your child be happy, social and intelligent. The best part is, you yourself might get some good deep sleep.