We’ve all heard that a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining energy and alertness during the day, but did you know that sleeping for at least ten hours each night is essential for children’s psychological and physical well-being?
Experts recommend that children between the ages of 3 and 12 get between 10 and 12 hours of good quality sleep each night. Older children may only require 8 to 9 hours, but can still benefit from extra zzz’s.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 25 percent of children under age 5 are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a number of health conditions, such as increased risk for depression, diabetes, and obesity.
Children may put up a fight at bedtime, but it is important to make sure they are getting adequate rest in the evenings, especially during the school year when they need to wake up early to catch the bus. Here are five benefits you’ll notice when your student is sleeping 10 or more hours each night.
- Improved immune system. Sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of compromised immune systems. When children are adequately rested, their bodies have a higher chance of fighting off unwelcome Intruders like cold and flu bugs, and they will get sick less often.
- Longer attention spans. Adequate sleep can significantly boost focus and attention. When their brains and bodies are not fully rested, children become more easily distracted and prone to daydreaming, procrastination, and feelings of “foggy headedness.”
- Improved memory. One of the important functions of sleep is memory consolidation and storage. Studies have shown that getting a good night’s rest can actually improve memory.
- Better mood. Children who are sleep deprived may oscillate between feeling hyperactive and feeling grumpy, mimicking the symptoms of ADHD or bipolar disorder. Often, these children just need to get a lot of rest and sleep over the course of a few days and their mood will stabilize.
- Mental health benefits. Studies have shown that adequate sleep can improve symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Sleep deprivation and sleep disruption affect the body’s hormone and chemical balance, which can then lead to or exacerbate mental health issues.
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