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.
As children get older, they start to go to school. They need to be in classrooms for hours at a time, depending on the country and school, where they have to concentrate on the letters, numbers, and other subjects they are learning.
There’s no denying that some children have attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), but there are some children who are misdiagnosed. We don’t quite know how many are misdiagnosed with the problem, but we know that it is common. This is because the lack of sleep and ADHD tend to have some of the same side effects and symptoms.
Lack of sleep means that children find it harder to concentrate. They may fall asleep in class, or they are hyperactive and struggle to just sit still in one place. Giddiness is a symptom of tiredness that a lot of parents of young children notice before children get into the stage of grumpiness and just crashing out wherever they sit.
The body tries to find that last bout of energy. Of course, it’s given off in the wrong way. The brain doesn’t have enough energy to focus on the things that children are taught, and this affects their learning.
We’ve already looked at how sleep helps with the learning. While sleeping, the brain is able to process the things that children have learned. The subconscious works on storing information in the long- and short-term memory banks. This is the chance for the brain to work through all the new information, people met, and things were done. If the child was unable to pay attention, the brain would only have part of the information. Not all of it can be stored for future use.