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Do all school children need deep sleep?

Pediatric researchers suggest that sleep is as vital to good health in children, as is good nutrition and exercise. The underlying reason behind this statement is that during sleep the neurotransmitters communicate in the body to filter out disease-causing toxins in the body. Thus making children less likely to fall sick. Moreover, growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep.

In a study conducted by Italian scientists, it was found that those children who slept less deeply than average children did had a decrease in their growth level. Lack of sleep is not good for the little hearts as well. According to sleep specialists, children who do not get good deep sleep at night have excessive brain arousal during sleep that increases their blood glucose and cortisol levels and keeps it elevated thus increasing their risk of diabetes, obesity and even heart disease.

Worn out kids also eat differently than those kids who are well rested. Research has found that like adults children who are tired crave for higher-carb or higher-fat foods than healthy nutritional foods. Moreover, tired children are more sedentary and less active. Therefore they burn fewer calories and put on excess weight easily.

Since, kids get clumsier and impulsive when they do not get enough sleep they also end up having more injuries, as they are more susceptible to have accidents. It is noteworthy that children can quickly fall into the danger zone of sleep deprivation. The side effects of sleep deprivation can be visible in a child/teenager soon after almost three or four days of an inconsistent sleep pattern if you allow them to watch a world series, movie, etc. late at night.

Insufficient sleep causes children to see the world in a more negative light and less in a positive one. Moreover, it causes mood swings in children and more rapid reactions to minor problems. It adversely affects their attention span in class. Makes them less likely to think before they act and are not good at problem-solving. According to research, children that do not get sufficient sleep at night are more likely to be overactive and non-compliant as well as anxious and withdrawn.

So how can you make children go to bed on time?

It is not easy when parents work long hours and then pack elaborate afterschool children activities into their everyday schedule and then, by the end of the day, expect everyone in the family to go to bed at an ideal time. Though today’s parents understand the need for exercise and an introduction of a good balanced nutritional diet in the schedule for their children yet most of them fail to realize or accomplish the task of making sure that their children can be in bed on time to reap the benefits of deep sleep that is so important for their overall mental and physical development.

Parents should try to introduce the following measures to attain the goal of good sleep habits in their children.
 Create a firm and regular sleep routine where kids go to bed every day at almost the same time. Make sure that bedtime is no later than 9 p.m. as
studies suggest that those kids who sleep after 9 p.m. take longer to fall asleep, wake more often at night and thus get less overall sleep.
 Try to keep the same temperature, level of comfort and light in your children’s’ rooms even when on vacation to help them sleep better. Ditch
devices after dinner. No devices in children’s room after 9 p.m. Ask them to read a book or try to read a story to them to help them go to sleep.
 Run a sleep audit every week on your children, especially when you see troubled behavioral patterns like dozing off in front of the TV, snoring at
night or becoming more grouchy or moody.

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Health Contributor,