Did you know that sleep is not just somewhat important, but it is one of the most important things for us, both physically and mentally?
Without adequate sleep, our bodies cannot recover from the events of the day and our brain cannot adequately process what it has learned.
What is Sleep Debt?
The Importance of sleep
A lack of sufficient sleep leads to a sleep debt which will continue to compound each day that one does not get enough sleep. This sleep debt can lead to irritability, difficulties in learning, weight gain and various illnesses.
Compounding sleep debt is even more harmful for young children and can be as detrimental to their development as missing meals!
The REM sleep stage, often known as the dreaming stage, is a key factor in learning and brain development, as our brain uses this time to quickly process and “file” information and memories. While an adult spends 25 percent of their sleep in the REM stage, an infant spends roughly half of their sleep in the REM stage.
An adult body requires approximately 2 hours of deep sleep each night for the immune system to effectively fight any illnesses. Infants and young children should ideally spend half their night in deep sleep to help their immune systems mature.
For children, it is during sleep that their bodies release the growth hormone which helps “plump” their various tissues and lengthens their limbs. This results in growth spurts for infants and growing pains throughout adolescence.
Like the growth hormone, regular sleep also helps regulate other hormones that affect our metabolism. Sleep debt can decrease this regulation and lead to unhealthy weight gain.
As heart rate and blood pressure decrease during sleep, there is less stress on our cardiovascular system when we get more sleep.
Sleep is essential for physical recovery and consistent, quality sleep has been known to increase reaction times and improve coordination.
Did Your Child Sleep Last Night?
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