Why sleep is important ?

Posted on Aug 7, 2014 in Children Articles, Family, Fitness & Health

Why sleep is important ?

 

By Raising Children Network, with the Centre for Adolescent Health

 

lack of sleep

lack of sleep

Sleep and sleep patterns start to change during adolescence. Adolescence also brings lots of reasons to miss out on sleep, but your child needs to get good-quality sleep more than ever.
 

It’s essential for your child to get enough sleep. Your child also needs good-quality sleep.

Sleep is important for:

  • Maintaining a healthy body
  • Cleaning up’ the brain
  • Helping the immune system
  • Improving energy levels, learning and concentration
  • people who are stressed for long periods of time
  • Lack of sleep can have a negative effect on behaviour, emotions, attention, social relationships and school performance.

Sleep needs for children 12-15 years

It’s thought that teenagers need an average of 9¼ hours of sleep each night to function at their best. This means they still need more sleep than an adult to be sufficiently alert during the day. And it’s not just about the quantity. It’s also about the quality, and how much deep sleep your child gets.

During puberty, children start to secrete melatonin later at night than they did in earlier childhood. This affects their circadian rhythm. It means that your child will want to go to bed later at night and get up later in the morning. Also, as their brains mature during puberty, children are able to stay awake for longer.

You can read more about sleep cycles for children and grown-ups in our article About sleep.

Signs of sleep problems

A change in your child’s sleeping behaviour – such as going to bed later than you’d like – isn’t necessarily a sleep problem. But your child could have sleep problems or be suffering from a lack of sleep if she:

  • Lacks energy or constantly feels tired
  • Takes a long time to get to sleep
  • Repeatedly wakes throughout the night and doesn’t go back to sleep
  • Struggles to wake or refuses to get out of bed in the morning
  • Naps for long periods during the day or falls asleep at school
  • Struggles to concentrate or remember information.
  • Has very irregular sleep patterns from day to day
  •  Sleepwalks or gets up and eats during the night while asleep
  • Has frequent nightmares or sleep terrors

These might be signs of a diagnosable sleeping disorder. But it’s much more likely that it’s a temporary problem that can be helped with some simple lifestyle changes.

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