Sleep is one of the most important basic needs in our body and one of those that we have to try the most to take care of.
Today, our rhythm of life affects sleep in such a way that many people suffer from sleep disorders that end up leading to cardiovascular or blood pressure problems.
Sleep hygiene is a healthy habit that we have to instill in the little ones since it is a key part of their cognitive, physical and emotional development. For this reason, it is important that parents establish clear and unchangeable routines and schedules so that children acquire this habit and maintain the same amount of sleep during their childhood and adolescence.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED NUMBER OF HOURS OF SLEEP FOR THE LITTLE ONES?
During the first years of life, children spend most of their time sleeping. During the night they usually sleep between 9 and 10 hours. The rest of the day, they also dedicate part of their time to this need.
However, as they grow older, their sleep time decreases. This is not a problem if the rest has been deep and without interruptions. From the age of 6, children begin to remove naps from their daily routine. However, the recommended time, at least until puberty, is approximately 10 hours for the brain and body to regain energy lost during the day.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT CHILDREN DO NOT REST WELL?
Lack of sleep affects the behavior and development of the child. Sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep becomes a complex task for them.
Studies show that during the first three years of life, lost sleep is irretrievable. This fact can be really detrimental to the health of the child since some aspects of their development have been damaged by lack of sleep.
In addition, they unconsciously manifest this lack of rest in many daily aspects. Therefore, parents or guardians of minors should be alert because the change in their behavior may be due to poor sleep hygiene.
Some of the clearest manifestations are:
Adequate sleep improves our mood. If the child shows a lower tolerance for frustration, worsens their behavior, has many mood swings and is more susceptible to any sudden or unforeseen change in routine, they may not be resting than they really should.
Our attitude to this behavior must be understanding. If we notice a radical change we must ask ourselves if something is happening or if our child is not resting as his body and mind need.
Some children with sleep problems may exhibit restless, nervous, and impulsive behaviors. This occurs because lack of sleep causes our brain to react disproportionately to any situation that is beyond our control.
3. Lack of concentration:
If our brain does not rest well, it will not be prepared to perform optimally in tasks that require attention and concentration.
One of the signs of lack of sleep in children is poor academic performance due to lack of energy.
4. Maladjustments in appetite:
The rhythms of our body are affected by sleep problems. This produces an imbalance in all our habits or routines, including our appetite. That is to say, those children who eat at odd hours, who show more hunger than normal and at inappropriate times, in short, those children who show more hunger than usual, may not sleep well or rest what their body needs.
This is another warning sign that should be observed because it can also be caused by other cognitive alterations that have nothing to do with sleep.
5. Ongoing headaches:
Not getting enough rest leads to ongoing headaches that can lead to migraines or chronic headaches. During sleep our brain is released from all the tension accumulated during the day. The stress can cause dreams interrupted and therefore we can not rest well. We will see all this reflected in the energy we have every day.
Aside from headaches, poor sleep causes muscle aches . If we notice that our children suffer from headaches without apparent cause or continuously complain of muscle pain without having suffered any injury, we have to observe their sleep habit to control or improve it.
Lack of sleep causes children to be unable to have adequate emotional control.
If during the night, the child makes it difficult to go to sleep or to stay alone in the room, you will have to find solutions, such as reading a story or telling a beautiful story before going to sleep, playing relaxing music with dim lighting, etc. However, children must accept the fact that they must sleep alone in the room and we cannot allow them to depend on our contact to fall asleep.
These are just some of the most common manifestations that children present when they are really tired. Lack of energy, low motivation, irritability or mood swings can be occasional , but if you notice a sudden change in the behavior of a child you should find out what is the true cause of the problem.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OUR CHILDREN DEVELOP A GOOD SLEEP HABIT?
It is important to instill patterns from the time they are newborns, since their early experience will be very significant for the rest of their lives.
There are children who have more difficulty falling asleep and will show crying or small tantrums from a very young age. Finding the remedy that best suits the needs that our children demand will be an arduous task in which our patience will be involved.
These are some of the guidelines that we can follow to achieve a better rest:
– Do not skip the established schedules . Try that your children always go to bed at the same time .
– Make your room a pleasant and suitable place to rest, free from excessive noise.
– Do relaxing tasks before going to sleep , such as reading a story .
– Avoid watching television for many hours and, also, before going to bed since it is considered a stimulating activity for our brain.
– After dinner, try to prevent children from doing tasks that activate their bodies.
– Do not allow your child to use technology or play video games before sleeping.