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The Importance of Sleep for Your Child

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We all know that sleep is important. It gives our body a moment to relax and helps us to get ready for a new day. For your child, sleep is even more important. Your little one is discovering new sounds and movements every single day when they are awake. Therefore, it’s very important that your child rests enough to be able to process these all.

But did you know that this moment of rest is also crucial for your child’s immune system?

 

Sleep and The Immune System

Getting enough sleep is very important for the immune system to work correctly. In other words, lack of sleep can have impact on the normal functioning of the immune system.

When the little ones do not get enough of sleep, the chances of them falling sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold, can be much higher. It can also affect how fast one could recover from sick.

During sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines need to increase when your child has an infection. However, if your child is lack of sleep, the production of these protective cytokines may be reduced. In addition, the antibodies and cells that normally fight infections would also be reduced when your child do not get enough of sleep[1].

So, when your child is not sleeping enough, he won’t be able to fight infections as good as when he gets enough sleep. Therefore, it’s important to create a good sleeping pattern for your child.

And let’s be honest, the moments that your child is having his little immune-boosting nap, you could also have your own energy-boosting moment. A win-win situation!

What is the Recommended amount of sleep for children?

Age (years) Recommended Hours
1-2 11-14
3-5 10-13
6-12 9-12

(Source: "The Importance of Sleep for Kids - Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital", 2020)

 

7 Tips to Get Your Child Fall Asleep Easier

 

There are some people who can deal with a little less sleep than others, however almost everyone needs their night’s rest. As your child gets older, he will start developing a day-to-night sleeping rhythm.

However, most parents share the struggles that getting their child to sleep is not always as easy as it is for adults to fall asleep. Catch up with the following 7 tips to have your child fall asleep easier!

1. Regularity

Regularity in bedtime is vital. Try to keep hold on, as much as possible, the same bedtime for your child. Of course, for some days, it may not be that convenient that your child needs to be brought to bed early, but make sure it’s not more than 1.5 hours difference than the regular bedtime.

2. Make a bedtime ritual

Try to make going to bed a ritual. For example, playing a small game together after dinner, get dressed in pajama, brush teeth and lastly read a small bedtime story on the bed together. Possibly also giving them a cup of milk before teeth brushing. Dim the lights of the bedroom and try to ensure the bedroom feels peaceful for your child. Sing a little song, tell a verse, or let a song play as child lies on the bed.

3. Avoid Eye contact

Did you know that eye contact can stimulate your child to stay awake? Try to make a little less eye contact with your little ones as they lie in bed. Your little one loves your attention and interaction and will therefore stay awake longer.

4.  Safe environment

Children are sometimes afraid to be left alone when going to bed. Leaving a small crack in the door and make some noises near the bedroom may help. Perhaps you have some laundry to fold or you could clean the bathroom. Result: your little on hears that you are still around and can sleep peacefully.

5. Optimal sleeping condition

A dark bedroom is best for sleeping. It prevents your child from waking up early from sunlight. Of course, you can leave a yellow night lamp on if your child is afraid of total darkness. Make sure the bedroom temperature and ventilation are optimal.

6. Active Outside

Active playing or being outdoor during the days could help your child to sleep better at night. So, keep them active, even if your child is very small. Play in the yard, let your little one crawl or walk on the grass.

7. Keep a Diary

Keep a sleeping diary of your child could help you in discovering which routines work best and how you could optimize to ensure your child get enough of sleep every day.

Read about Working from Home Tips here.

Reference:

[1] Eric J. Olson, M.D., Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?, 2018,  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757