When it comes to children, it seems like they can sleep all day. You just have to look at babies to know that sleep is essential to their development. Babies can sleep for 16-18 hours a day when they’re first born. As they get older, they sleep less, but they will need rest more frequently. They’ll have naps during the day to be able to handle the rest of whatever life throws at them.
But why is this sleep so important? Just what is it about growing children that requires extra sleep throughout the day? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about sleep and child development.
The brain will constantly run. In fact, it runs while you’re sleeping but not as hard. When you’re awake, it must deal with the everyday processes. It keeps your whole body alive and function, while helping you remember where you’re going, move your muscles, and do everything else that is needed on a day-to-day basis.
For children that mean learning. The brain is helping a child learn how to eat solid food, move muscles to be able to grab, roll over, crawl, and walk. The brain helps babies and young children make decisions and process thoughts and feelings. There is an element of problem-solving throughout the day.
But it’s the sleeping process that helps to cement all this. The brain performs subconsciously to take in all the thoughts and learning experiences. The pathways of memory are created during the sleep.
A lack of sleep-in children could mean that they don’t take in everything – they don’t remember all the things they’ve done on a daily basis. Some children struggle to control their emotions, while others act out in naughty ways because their brains need the rest. They take risks, and as they get older, they can have problems with depression and anxiety.
Studies have shown that growing children struggle to communication and get along with others when they are deprived of sleep. They are angry and impulsive, often lacking the controls to prevent them doing something they know is wrong. Babies don’t have as much awareness or impulse control. This development comes later, and it is due to sleep as the brain processes everything.