Aside from toileting habits and feeding, sleep has to be one of the biggest topics of conversations amongst new parents. Not just your own sleep - or lack of it - but how much your little one is getting and are they getting enough. But do we really fully understand how important sleep is and how much sleep our little ones should be getting? And as our children grow, do we still pay enough attention to the amount of sleep they are getting?
Sleep is essential for development, and not just physical development. It is particularly important for brain development. Research shows that regular and healthy sleep patterns help build the connections between neurons (brain cells) in the brain.
Why we need sleep
We need sleep because:
The body does a lot of it’s repair work, physically, mentally and emotionally, while we are asleep.
The human body uses sleep time to process the day’s highlights, traumas, anxieties and new learning
It is VITAL for children’s development
What if children don’t get enough sleep
Children who do not get enough sleep may
Become irritable and clumsy
Fail to learn as quickly as they could
Be more likely to be emotional and easily upset
Become hyperactive and disruptive or lethargic and lacking interest in anything
Become increase their chances of becoming obese
That’s right, it may surprise you, but recent research has shown that preschoolers who do not get enough sleep are less likely to maintain a healthy weight in later life.