Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
139
Basic Facts About Sleep
July 10, 2023

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

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Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

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.

Blog 139Basic Facts About Sleep

  1. There is a genetically controlled circadian rhythm for sleep and wakefulness that is unrelated to parenting (Blog Post 112-Circadian Sleep Rhythm). That is, there is an automatic, biologically driven, 24-hour cycling of electrical activity in the brain as the brain alternates between an awake mode and a sleep mode. It is not influenced by anything that parents do. If your child falls asleep when the brain begins to enter the sleep mode, good quality sleep occurs. 

However, if your child is awake when the brain shifts into sleep mode, and then later, your child falls asleep, poor quality sleep occurs.  The reason for this is that keeping your child awake when the brain wants to sleep creates a state of neurologic hyperarousal in your child.  This higher state of arousal makes it more difficult for your child to easily fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Parents can help their child sleep well: 

  • A – Parents can control the bedtime and 
  • B – Parents can provide opportunities during the day for naps. 
  1. The brain requires sleep. (Blog Post 126-Brain Development and Sleep)
  • A – For normal development over time, as the child grows and
  • B – For healthy function at any given age.

All the organs in the body, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the kidneys, and the brain require glucose for energy and oxygen to function.  

But the brain is the only organ in the body that has an absolute requirement for sleep.

  1. The body counters sleep-deprivation by producing neurologically stimulating chemicals to maintain arousal.  

This is a biologically adaptive response that developed so that primitive man could hunt longer, fight harder, or flee danger faster to survive, even when short on sleep. It’s like a second wind or a turbo boost to be used under life-or-death situations.  

In children who are short on sleep, in the late afternoon or in the early evening, this second wind is sometimes called ‘the witching hour’ because the child appears ‘wired’ or out-of-control.  

Similarly, for the bedtime, late in the evening, your child is at a higher level of neurological arousal. Thus, moving the bedtime earlier before hyperarousal occurs, makes it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night and early in the morning.  By moving the bedtime earlier your child might sleep in later in the morning.  

Sleep begets sleep. 

It’s not logical, it’s biological! 

For more information about the facts of sleep, as well as expert sleep training advice, subscribe to my blog today.

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