Poor Sleep

5 Reasons Poor Sleep Can Be Making Your Child Sick

Infants need 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day, while toddlers need 11 to 14. If those totals seem like a bit much, keep in mind that they include naps. If you think that your child isn’t getting enough rest, sleep training your baby may become a priority for you. Sleep deprivation is dangerous at any age, but especially for young children because their brains are still developing.

Why Does My Child Keep Catching a Cold?

The immune system of a baby is not fully developed at birth. It takes time for your baby’s body to start providing adequate protection against infection, although immune support for kids may help. Even when the immune system is fully developed, the body needs regular sleep to recharge it from day to day. Sleep deprivation can result in a lower immune response. Your child may be at greater risk for illness as a result, especially if he or she spends a lot of time in a germ-rich environment, such as school or daycare.

A lowered immune response is one possible effect of sleep deprivation in a child. Here are some other problems to watch for, both now and in the future as your child grows:

  • Hypertension: Sleep deprivation can elevate blood pressure
  • Mood Disorders: Sleep deprivation increases the risk of anxiety or depression
  • Obesity: Sleep deprivation causes an increase in the hormone that stimulates hunger, which can eventually lead to weight gain
  • Learning Disorders: Sleep deprivation can affect memory and concentration, making it more difficult for a child to retain information

Researchers have found that sleep deprivation can mimic the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is at least possible that some cases of ADHD in children actually result from lack of sleep. This is concerning because the treatment for ADHD is often stimulant drugs, which could disrupt sleep further.

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Keeping a Proper Bedtime Schedule

It is never too early to start establishing a sleep schedule for your child. Making sure he or she gets enough sleep is only going to become more difficult as socializing, homework, and digital devices start entering the picture.

The first thing to do is to create an environment for your child that is conducive to sleep. That means a room that is dimly lit at most, quiet, and of a moderate temperature. If you can’t make the room quiet, a white noise machine can mask disruptions, and if your child doesn’t calm down, a sleep spray for kids may help.

In improving your kids’ sleep hygiene, you need to be consistent. This means setting a bedtime and sending your child to bed at the same time every night. It also means setting an example by holding yourself to the same standards that you expect of your kids.

Maintaining a consistent bedtime also helps to establish a nighttime routine. A routine of relaxation at bedtime prompts the brain that it is time for bed. The routine should be enjoyable so that your child forms positive associations with bedtimes. Listening to soothing music, taking a bath or shower, and reading or listening to a story are all examples of activities that can be part of your child’s bedtime routine.

Determining which activities help your child fall asleep effectively could take a process of trial and error.

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