Children ages 6 to 12 need about nine to 12 hours of sleep each night. Is your child getting the rest they need? Without adequate sleep, their health could be at risk.

What is the importance of sleep in children’s development, exactly? Read on to find out!

We’ve even included tips you can use to improve your child’s sleep routine.

The Importance

Understanding the importance of sleep can help you improve your child’s overall health. Getting adequate sleep can affect their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It also plays a crucial role in early brain development.

Sleep affects your child’s:

  • Vocabulary acquisition
  • Executive memory
  • Motor skill development
  • Mood
  • Cognitive performance
  • Alertness/attention

For toddlers, naps are necessary for executive attention, motor skill development, and memory consolidation. It also affects their childhood development (especially during early infancy).

Unfortunately, about 25 to 50% of children have sleep difficulties.

When your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they can swing between hyperactive and grumpy. They might struggle to pay attention, which could affect their performance in school. Inadequate sleep can affect their mood, cognitive abilities, and physical ability to function.

Poor sleep during early childhood development is connected with anxiety, depression, and immune system issues. It could increase your child’s future risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Establishing a Routine

Establishing a sleep routine can help your child maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is a natural cycle that repeats every 24 hours. It’s part of your body’s internal clock and controls the sleep-wake cycle.

Following the same routine every night can send signals to the brain that it’s time to wind down. For example, you can:

  • Dim the lights
  • Give your child a bath
  • Read a short book
  • Limit electronics/screens before bed
  • Brushing teeth
  • Putting on pajamas

Once you choose a few bedtime activities, stick with them. Consistency will help your child learn what to expect.

Try to put your child to bed when they’re sleepy (instead of when they’re already asleep). They’ll begin to learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Improving Sleep Hygiene

Daytime activities can affect sleep for kids.

Try to maintain a balanced schedule with interspersed periods of play and rest. Establish a set bedtime and stick to it. Have your child wake up at the same time each morning to regulate their circadian rhythm.

Provide your child with a balanced, healthy diet. Add food sources of magnesium and melatonin to their diet, which can help them sleep. These foods include yogurt, eggs, almonds, cherries, and bananas.

Have them eat the rainbow to ensure they’re getting nutrients.

Avoid caffeine, sugary treats, and large meals before bed. Encourage regular exercise to help expel excess energy.

Prioritize Sleep in Children’s Development

Understanding the importance of sleep in children’s development could prove crucial to your child’s health. If your child is struggling to fall and stay asleep, talk to a pediatrician. With help, you can develop a plan to ensure your child gets the rest they need.

Proper sleep for kids can set your child up for a healthy future.

Want to talk to a pediatrician? Schedule an appointment at Thrive Pediatrics today.

Schedule an appointment today!