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.
“Sleep duration is paramount because the health and function of the brain is primarily a direct function of the amount of sleep obtained-the more sleep obtained the better.”
“Cognitive ability and readiness vary as a direct function of the amount of sleep obtained. The more sleep Soldiers [or children] get, the greater their mental acuity, with faster response times, fewer errors, and fewer lapses in attention. Also improved are judgement, problem-solving, situational awareness, mood, resilience, and general well- being.”
“The relationship between sleep duration and cognitive readiness (and thus military effectiveness) is best thought of as a continuum, with more sleep always producing improved performance.”
“Even for those who regularly obtain the generally recommended number of hours of sleep per night, more sleep can result in even better alertness and mental acuity. Insufficient sleep degrades the brain’s function. The more sleep the brain gets, the better it functions. Insufficient sleep negatively effects not only cognitive performance, but emotional and social functioning. In short, the brain has a physiological need for sleep, and sleep promotes the ability to think and maintain mental toughness. And the more sleep, the better. Although obtaining ample and regular sleep generally results in the ability to sustain normal levels of alertness and performance during the daytime, obtaining even more sleep results in greater brain readiness-enhanced mental sharpness and resilience in the field.”
So, more sleep produces more benefits for children. Even small amounts of extra sleep help. At every age!
EVEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF EXTRA SLEEP MAKES A BIG IMPACT!
There are four types of studies proving that just small amounts of extra sleep help children. All these papers were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
2. Experiments in sleep laboratories using either sleep extension or sleep restriction.
3. Studies focused on concurrent effects.
SLEEP ADVICE – CONCLUSION
AT EVERY AGE, A FEW MINUTES OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR YOUR CHILD
Also, mothers benefits when her child gets more sleep!
“In Iran, most mothers are housewives, and they usually have a late wake time of around 10:00am and naturally their infants sleep more in the morning and afternoon. On the other hand, most men come back home very late (around 8:00pm or even later) and play with babies after this time. In addition, most small family gathering parties (a widespread activity in the Iranian daily schedule) are held at night, and babies are one of the most important members of these parties. Considering the average Iranian adult bedtime (about 11:00pm), children also often have a late bedtime like most Asian and Middle eastern countries.” They studied a group of infants 2-4 months of age and randomly divided them into a sleep intervention group that received guidance on healthy sleep and a matched control group that received information on general safety. Surprisingly, 94% of all infants in the study had a bedtime at baseline later than 11:00pm and the range of it was between 10:00pm and 4:00am.
After 8 weeks, in the sleep intervention group:
The bedtime shifted from 1:00am to 10:20pm.
Night sleep duration (sleep between 10:00pm and 8:00am) increased by about 1.5 hours.
Longest sleep period without signaled awakenings increased by about 1 hour.
Maternal sleep quality improved.
Maternal postnatal depression decreased.
The mother’s ‘overall quality of life’ was measured by her agreement or disagreement with five questions:
Mothers’ overall quality of life was associated with joy of motherhood, relationship satisfaction, and especially, long infant sleep duration.
Remember, the brain is the only organ in the body that has sleep as a requirement. Long sleep comes from an early bedtime (Blog Posts 7, 74, and 109). Even just a few minutes of extra sleep makes a big difference (Blog Post 6)!
More information about child and baby sleep training:
More sleep makes your child’s temperament easier. Blog Post 48
More sleep may cure a “mental health problem”. Blog Post 66