You, like many other people, probably think of sleep as a time when your mind and body rest and slow down, but in truth, sleep is a time when your body is working at a furious pace. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs.” It might surprise you to learn that how and why we sleep is still unknown to scientists, but they do know that sleep is required for us to remain functional and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of sleep, and why it’s not only crucial for your baby to get a healthy amount of sleep, but why slumber is vital for you as well.
Perhaps the most vital role sleep plays in our daily lives is brain function. You’ve likely suffered from poor sleep or sleep deprivation, which means you’ve felt the effects of reduced cognitive functioning as a result; difficulty putting thoughts together and poor memory recall are two of the most common effects.
Learning and memory in the human brain are divided into three critical functions: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. When we sleep, our mind is furiously processing and arranging the information we’ve taken in throughout the day, in addition to carefully storing that information as memories for later recall. When people suffer sleep deprivation, their cognitive function is substantially impaired.
Think about how much a growing baby — and children — are learning each day. So, babies and children who don’t get enough healthy sleep each night will be adversely affected. I can not stress how vital sleep is for humans — especially growing humans!
We’ve all seen the news headlines proclaiming that sleep is essential for our health, but how exactly does that work? Sure, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, among other health issues, but why? The National Sleep Foundation sums up sleeps role in our overall health and wellbeing by sharing that long periods of sleep are necessary “to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.”
Not only does your infant or child require long periods of sleep for cognitive development, but it’s also vital to your little one’s physical development as well. And when your little one is sleeping well, you can sleep well, making every family member able to perform at their peak and maintain their overall health! Sleep deprivation is not a necessary rite of parenthood, trust me — you need healthy sleep to care for your growing child.
How much sleep should you get? Adults typically need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep each day to let their body rest and restore. If you find that sleeping 6 hours works for you, without you feeling tired or irritable throughout your days, then that’s your number and keep doing what you’re doing! Let your body be your guide.
Check out these Healthy Sleep Tips for Adults
Children require different amounts of sleep depending on their age and developmental level. The National Sleep Foundation has a handy sleep chart that provides the recommended amount of sleep for each age, from newborns to young adults, ages 18-25.
Check out these 4 Tips for Getting Your Baby to Sleep Better
Healthy Mind & Body
If you’re reading this, you likely experienced a period of sleep deprivation with your baby, so you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that inadequate sleep is proven to make people irritable. Healthy sleep is incredibly important for your overall mood. In fact, even partial sleep deprivation can result in feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and mental exhaustion, according to study findings from University of Pennsylvania researchers.
It’s evident that sleep is beneficial for our overall health and is extremely important for the entire family. If you think your family’s sleep could use an overhaul, contact me for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.