Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance is way beyond that. A goodnight sleep is critical to a healthy lifestyle; it benefits your mental and physical health. In today’s busy lifestyle sleep is often ignored, but it can be very harmful for your body. When we sleep our body begins to heal damaged cells, recover itself from the day’s activity’s stress, boost our immune system, and rejuvenate the heart for the next day. If we have less sleep this process remains incomplete and body doesn’t get the chance to recharge and relax and it remains tired and energy less for the next day.

Sleep is as important as healthy food & drink, in the lives of children. Healthy sleep means a sufficient amount of uninterrupted goodnights sleep with good number of naps in daytime. Many parents intentionally or unintentionally do not allow children to get proper sleep. It all starts when we allow our children miss naps and going to bed a little late. This may create consequences that last forever. Sleep problems disturbs children in nights and the effects of it are seen in the daytime too. It makes them less mentally alert and reduce the attention span. It also makes them more physically reckless, agitated or sluggish. Sleep deficits in long run effects on brain functions.

All living being requires sleep. During sleep blood supply into the muscles increased and necessary hormones are released for growth and development of children. The main work of the brain during early childhood development is to initiate sleep and get the body in to following the sleep-wake cycle. The sleep-wake cycle also known as Circadian rhythms, it help in regulating the body clock. Brain trains itself and regulates the sleep according to light and dark situations. The newborns have irregular sleep routine because this cycle takes time to develop, they sleep most of the time except when it is time to be fed or changed(in case of poop or pee).

Recommended sleep hours for children in a 24 hour day.

AgeHours (including naps)
3 to 12 months12 to 16 hours
1 to 2 years12 to 14 hours
3 to 6 years10 to 13 hours

How to make your children develop healthy sleeping habits?

  • Create a soothing environment when it’s time for your children to sleep. Dim the lights and maintain a comfortable temperature for your child to sleep.
  • Make sure your children indulge in an ample amount of physical activity during the day.
  • Parents should make children follow a regular daily routine. Set a fixed time for Meals, naps, and playing. This will lead your children to sleep and wakeup at the right time.
  • Make sure your children sleeps early even if you plan to wake up until late to watch TV or for work. Let your child sleep and then start what you want to. Remember that children need more sleep than adults need.
  • Turn off the TV 30 minutes before bedtime. In fact, turn off all the screens like computers, phones and tablets.
  • Don’t give solid food before 6 months of age. Your children may have trouble in sleeping because of a tummy ache.
  • Don’t fill your children’s bedroom with toys. Just one or two of their favourite will do if they want to take them to bed. It actually helps ease the separation anxiety in children.
  • Don’t let your children go to bed with a bottle of juice, milk etc. It may cause tooth decay.
  • Make timely and sufficient sleep a priority of whole family. Remember that you are a role model to your child and you will have to lead by example. Developing healthy sleep habits yourself proves it to your children that sleeping is a part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy sleeping habit will make your child highly alert. Sleep is said to be the main reason that keeps the mind alert and calm. A good and balanced amount of sleep and nap recharges the brain’s battery. Sleep is for brain, what exercise is for body. Along with exercise and healthy food, good amount of quality sleep is also very important for the health of children. Good health cannot be achieved without taking care of your sleep. Healthy sleep allows children’s mind to be optimally alert when they are awake. When children’s minds are alert optimally, they are more receptive, interactive with greater attention span and can learn more. With good sleep your children will be calm, attentive, pleasant, with wide eyes looking around, absorbing everything with ease & interest.

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”