Parents tell me, 'My child is super alert, Karen!' and 'My child is very sensitive and they just don't like to sleep much'. These are two of the many common threads of babies who fight their sleep. For these highly alert, intelligent and anxious children, their intelligence, health and wellbeing, and overall happiness depend on them getting enough sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than most to cope with their day. It's the opposite to which their parents believe is the truth.
How much sleep is enough?
After much debate, this is how much sleep the AAP decided babies and children need. However, there are variations at both ends of this spectrum.
- 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Why is sleep important?
- They feed better and gain weight appropriately - sleep helps a normal weight gain by influencing the appetite hormone and insulin levels
- Babies move on developmentally quicker when well rested and they have a lot more energy
- It improves mood, a rested baby is a happier baby
- Their immune system is stronger making them less susceptible to colds and illness
- It increases learning at a much deeper level, making sense of the day's events and creating new connections in the brain
- Emotional and physical self-regulation. Babies who sleep well and are able to self-soothe manage their emotions better and are less stressed and anxious
- It clears out the nasty toxins which build up in the brain
- It improves impulse control and judgement - Insufficient sleep leads to distracted behaviour, impulsivity, and reduced ability to concentrate, sometimes to the point of looking like they have symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I've met many babies and children who were given this diagnosis who were in fact just tired.
- Behaviour - lack of sleep leads to poor behaviour and attention seeking behaviour.
- Physical growth and repair. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone during sleep, which the body requires for growth, fat breakdown, and repair.
And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then... You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram ??
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Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon ? .
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