If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Your child needs a healthy brain. A healthy brain needs healthy sleep.
The brain is the only organ in the body that requires sleep for its healthy development and function.
A 2021 study of over 11,000 9-11-years-old children examined sleep duration, psychiatric problems, cognitive measures, and brain scans. Here are some of their main findings:
• Short sleep duration is associated with more psychopathology.
• Short sleep duration is associated with specific regional decreases of brain volume.
• Long sleep duration is associated with higher cognitive scores.
• Long sleep duration is associated with specific regional increases of brain volume.
A 2022 study of over 8,000 9-10-year-olds divided them into two evenly matched groups:
Those with sufficient sleep (SS) usually slept 9 or more hours each night.
Those with insufficient sleep (IS), who usually slept less than 9 hours each night.
“We found that children who had insufficient sleep (IS) at the beginning of the study had less grey matter or smaller volume in certain areas of the brain responsible for attention, memory, and inhibitory control compared to those with healthy sleep habits (SS). These differences persisted after two years, a concerning finding that suggests long term harm for those who do not get enough sleep. These results provide evidence for the long-lasting effect of insufficient sleep on neurocognitive development in early adolescence.”
Sleep and mental health in your child. Blog Posts 38, 72–73, 75–76, 99–100, 108,
Sleep and cognition in your child. Blog Post 121
Sleep and changes in your child’s brain. Blog Posts 50–51, 100
For more information on children’s sleep, make sure to subscribe to my blog for sleep advice and training. Learn how to improve your child’s sleep schedule, how to get a babies to sleep through the night and much more!
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