Does your child sleep long enough each night? How many hours of sleep does he actually need? To find out all about children’s sleep, read on. Because their sleep time always guarantees yours!
What is sleeping for?
If the need to sleep may seem obvious to parents, it is worth remembering the different uses of sleep. It is first used to recover from the mental and physical fatigue of the day. Then, in children, it helps to grow. The reason? Growth hormones are secreted while they sleep. A strong argument to add to parents’ ammunition to convince their young people to go to bed.
A good night’s sleep also helps to memorize the new knowledge of the day. Finally, sleeping helps develop the immune system because the white blood cells that protect us from viruses are on the rise overnight.
What are the consequences of a lack of sleep?
All parents in the world who have already been deprived of sleep know the answer to this question! The first symptoms of a night that is too short are often the same: bad mood, irritability, difficulty waking up in the morning.
Other consequences are also to be expected, such as problems with concentration and memory, which could affect children at school. They may also experience increased stress and anxiety.
Finally, some young people who are too tired will show signs of hyperactivity. Parents may then believe that their child does not need to sleep more, which would lead to a vicious cycle of lack of sleep.
What can we do to help children sleep?
Even if you can never force a child to sleep, there are some simple tips you can use to encourage sleep. The best thing: the famous routine! By establishing a sleep routine that will be the same, and therefore predictable, every day, children realize, consciously and unconsciously, that bedtime is approaching.
Routines may vary from family to family, and may or may not include the following: a calm game, a bath, a period of relaxation in the child’s bed, a discussion of the best times of the day, reading a story (or two! or three! or four!).
It is also best to close screens at least 30 minutes before your desired bedtime. Ditto for homework: the best is to complete them as early as possible in the evening, just to give the brain some time to rest before resting.
What to do if you deviate from the routine?
Even if we recommend a sleep routine that stays the same every day, there are times when deviating from it remains the best for everyone. At Christmas, at a party or special occasion, it is normal for the child, even when tired, not to want to go to bed.
We can then, the next day, add a nap or anticipate going to bed. With a view to optimizing sleep, this should however remain occasional. From 2 years old, we can explain to our child that it is Christmas, that he will go to bed later than usual and that tomorrow, things will return to normal.