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.
A 2021 survey confirmed that consecutive nights of sleep with 6 hours of sleep, over the first few days cause increasing negative affect, decreasing positive affect, and increasing number and severity of physical symptoms. Each subsequent day is worse than the preceding day, the harm accumulates:
• Increasing negative affect: feeling more restless or fidgety, nervous, worthless, so sad nothing could cheer you up, everything was an effort, hopeless, lonely, afraid, jittery, irritable, ashamed, upset, angry, frustrated.
• Decreasing positive affect: feeling less in good spirits, cheerful, extremely happy, calm and peaceful, satisfied, full of life, close to others, like you belong, enthusiastic, attentive, proud, active, confident.
• Increasing number and severity of physical symptoms: more upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat, runny nose), aches (headache, muscle soreness, backache), gastrointestinal symptoms (stomach problems, diarrhea).
Compared to baseline (when subjects were getting more sleep), subjects experiencing consecutive nights of short sleep never adapted with a return to their baseline levels. “This means that there is no chance for recovery when consecutive sleep loss occurs, which results in cumulative costs on daily well-being [emphasis added]”.
When your child is short on sleep, over time, the adverse effects of sleep loss do not stay stable, they will worsen.
If you allow your child to have consecutive nights of insufficient sleep, your child’s brain will never adapt to an insufficient sleep schedule.
Please see Blog Post 13 for more information and subscribe to my blog for more sleep advice.