It does not come as a surprise to learn that your child’s sleep patterns can play a huge role in their overall health. But did you know the extent of children’s sleep connected to brain development? Sleep is actually imperative for the proper cognitive development of the brain, especially in young bodies that are still growing.
Children’s Sleep Connected to Brain Development
A lack of sleep can lead to many poor health conditions such as sleep apnea, asthma, irritability, memory loss, and even emotional instability. These and other pediatric sleep disorders must be diagnosed right away. Keep reading to learn more about the interesting connection between sleep habits and brain development in young children.
How Sleeping Affects The Brain
A recent study at the University of Maryland studied the brain development of over 12,000 children across the United States to determine the role of sleep health in overall brain development and capacity. During the study, children were grouped together by age and assigned a certain number of hours to sleep each night. Those who had at least nine hours of sleep showed faster physical response times, greater memory retention, better moods, and stronger brain development patterns than those who received less sleep.
Kids without a healthy sleep schedule are prone to many physical issues such as headaches, asthma, and an increased likelihood of developing upper respiratory infections. It is also possible for kids to develop sleep disorders at a young age that can become more difficult to treat as they get older.
How to Encourage Better Sleep for Your Child
If you are worried about your child’s overall health and you fear that they do not get good sleep at night, there are several things you can do at home to encourage healthier patterns of rest. Your child may be simply staying up too late, so moving bedtime up to an earlier hour can help give them the time they need to wind down and rest.
Here are some other things you can try:
- Establish a routine of having no screens or glowing lights before bedtime. Reducing contact with electronics can help the brain wind down and get ready for bed, especially when that brain is still growing.
- Foster a better sleeping environment with a comfortable bed in a cool, dark room. Make sure there are plenty of pillows and blankets to keep them comfortable. A bedroom should be quiet to help lull your child to sleep.
- Don’t eat any snacks late at night, especially snacks that involve sugar or starch. The body should not be going through the digestive process during this time, as the process requires energy from your brain that prevents it from being able to rest.
Getting into better bedtime habits can work wonders for your child’s sleep health. Since they have a developing brain, they are much more likely to latch onto new habits and lessons that they will take with them through life. You can use this as the perfect teaching opportunity to help your child settle into a healthy routine of rest.
Improve Your Child’s Sleep Health with Pediatric Care
Depending on your child’s age and overall medical needs, we recommend that they have at least nine hours of sleep per night. Younger children should also be taking lots of naps throughout the day. It is important to give your child grace and patience as their body is going through many rapid changes at once.
This is a crucial time for the development of healthy sleep patterns as they can inform the way your child’s brain actually grows in the future. Learn how to stay healthy and prevent bad sleep by visiting your New York sleep specialist today.