Everyone needs sleep. Babies, children, and teens require significantly more sleep than grown-ups to maintain their rapid mental and physical development. Most parents know for definite that their growing child needs a good night’s sleep, but many do not know just how much is really needed. In this post, I will be discussing the importance of Children and Sleep and the impact that a child can go through if they miss as little as 30 to 60 minutes of sleep time.
Children and Sleep
The sleep-wake cycle is controlled by light and dark. The sleep rhythms take time to mature and they result in the erratic sleep schedule that a newborn experiences. The rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle.
By the age of two, most kids have spent more time sleeping than waking and overall, a child spends 40 percent of his or her childhood sleeping. It is especially important, Children and Sleep as it directly impacts mental and physical development.
Types of Sleep
Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM)
“quiet” sleep. During the deep states of NREM sleep, blood supply to the muscles is enhanced, vitality is renewed, tissue growth and restoration occur, and essential hormones are discharged for growth and development.
Rapid Eye Movement(REM)
“active” sleep. During REM sleep, our brain is busy & we dream. Our bodies become motionless, breathing and our heart rates are variable.
Babies spend 50 percent of their time in each of these states and the sleep length is about 50 minutes. At about six months of age, REM sleep composes of 30% of sleep. By the time children reach preschool age, the sleep cycle is about every 90 minutes.
Children and Sleep
Newborns (0-3 months)
For newborns, sleep during the early months occurs around the clock and the sleep-wake cycle communicates with the need to be fed, developed and sustained. Newborns sleep a total of 16 to 18 hours a day on an unpredictable schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake. The sleep period may last a few minutes to numerous hours. During sleep, they are often active, twitching their arms and legs, greeting, sucking and usually seeming restless.
Newborns display their want to sleep in different ways. Babies become fussy, cry or rub their eyes or indicate that they are sleepy. It is essential we understand this need and put babies to bed when they are sleepy.