Why Children Need More Sleep Than Adults (and How to Make Sure They Get Enough)

Why Children Need More Sleep Than Adults from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

There is no doubt that getting enough sleep is vital to functioning properly for adults, but the fact is, kids need even more sleep in order to get through the day. There are several reasons for that which we will be exploring below. You may also be wondering how you can make sure that your kids get enough sleep. This can be challenging but there are some strategies that can work. Before we get into suggestions on improving your child sleep, let’s take a look at some of the science behind sleep for children and adolescents to understand why they need more than adults.

The Science behind Why Children Need More Sleep Than Adults

There has been a great deal of research done on childhood and adolescence sleep patterns and needs. However, much is still unknown about how the brain develops. But researchers believe that REM sleep is when the brain consolidates the neural networks that are for memory and cognition. It is sort of like setting up a hard drive and installing the base operating system onto it. This happens throughout much of early childhood but continues on into adolescence as well.

Before the age of six, researchers agree that children need between 12 and 13 hours of sleep per night. You probably remember that as a baby your children slept most of the time. Once they reach the age of six, that number is only slightly reduced with 10 to 11 hours of sleep still necessary for proper childhood development. Once a child reaches adolescence, they no longer need as much as they did when they were younger, but they should always be getting at least nine hours of sleep per night.

Researchers have also been able to identify several consequences that come from not getting enough sleep. Surprisingly, your child’s reaction may not be what you expect because they do not simply experience low energy and sleepiness as adults do. Instead, not getting enough sleep can result in a child becoming hyperactive or overexcited. They can exhibit behavior that is very similar to children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For example, they may have erratic emotions, stop paying attention and exhibit behavior problems.

Making Sure Kids Get Enough Sleep

So, how do you make sure that your kids are getting enough sleep? There are several ways that you can ensure that you’re giving them the best opportunity possible to get enough sleep. The first is obviously setting appropriate bedtimes. Setting the right bedtimes will ensure that they have enough time to fall asleep and get the amount prescribed above.

In addition, making sure that they have a good sleep environment is important. Providing a warm quilt, a comfortable bed the right pillows and various other items that make them feel comfortable in their bed and bedroom can have a pretty significant impact on their sleep as well.

Taking devices out of the bedroom can make sure that children get to sleep faster and sleep deeper. This is for a couple of different reasons. First, they are not able to watch videos or get distracted by their phone or other device and will focus on falling asleep instead. But another good reason is that researchers have found that the glow from electronic devices can actually affect the depth of your sleep. You may have a harder time getting into REM sleep and you may have a shorter duration of REM sleep because of the distracting effect of the electronics that you keep in your bedroom

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