Sleeping is as important as proper nutrition and exercise in child development. The sad part is that most Nigerian parents neglect this fact. Many bodily functions go on while a child is at sleep. The hormone, insulin levels, and blood pressure are been regulated. Discipline goes a long way in good parenting. As a parent, you mustn’t let your kids have it their way all the time. You must make the ground rules and make sure your kids adhere to it. Once it’s bedtime everyone should go to bed irrespective of what they might be doing. A child who gets enough sleep has a lower chance of being overweight or affected by other chronic diseases. Studies have found that sleep plays a critical role in the development of a child’s brain. Children who have irregular sleep pattern are more likely to have poor performance in Math skills, spatial awareness and reading skills. Most parents believe that making their kids stay up late and do their home works equate to good parenting, but the reverse is the case. Sleeping is the opportunity the brain uses to rid itself of toxins and recharges itself. If you are particular about your child’s brain development, then sleep is not something to take lightly. Recent research on the subject of sleep shows that irregular sleep pattern can affect the immune system and growth of your child – children who get little sleep tends to fall sick easily. The problem in Nigeria today, more especially Lagos is that most parents have a busy work demand and most times they come home late and fatigued – and are unlikely to care about what their kids are doing. In some cases, most Nigerian parents tend to let their kids have it their way when they cry to be granted more TV time. If you are a parent and you fall for this, then be rest assured that you are falling short of good parenting. Crying never killed any child, in fact, most experts believe that crying is a form of communication with children. When it come to discipline I respect my elder sister a lot. The last time I paid her a visit, while I was up watching an interesting movie with the kids, at exactly 8:00pm the eldest shouted “Bedtime” and they all stood up and went to bed without complaining. A lot have already been written on the subject of sleep and one of the most comprehensive articles is on parents.com Some of the importance of sleep to your child are listed below.
Lack of sleep affects the growth hormone. Research has shown that irregular sleep pattern in children for a long number of years can lead to a stunted growth. According to baby sleep academy, A research carried out in the Adler Centre of Research in child development and psychopathology found that sleep is related to physical growth and development. Without enough sleep, a child is more likely to have a stunted growth.
Kids who get enough sleep tends to be more mentally alert and attentive. When a child gets little sleep they become groggy and muzzy upon waking up and they stagger through the day. This goes a long in way in affecting all their daily function and they are unable to concentrate in school or participate in any sports activity. They become totally cut off and unable to make friends.
Lack of sleep is one of the culprits of child obesity and diabetes in Nigeria. When a child gets enough sleep, the neuroendocrine system, and glucose metabolism becomes well regulated. These important functions are what keeps obesity and diabetes in check. When the sleeping pattern is altered, things begin to go wrong and affects the body’s ability to use insulin. According to Dr. Dorit Korean, an endocrinologist who has studied the link between sleep and obesity-related co-morbidities; The body create creates a hormone leptin, which helps in controlling overeating and excess carving while eating. When your child is sleep deprived his body produces less leptin and produces more ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger.
Another reason for kids to get regular sleep is for a healthy heart. A child who gets little sleep is prone to cardiovascular diseases. A particular study in the European Heart Journal found that short sleepers had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease. Dr. Jeffery Durmer, co-founder of FusionHealth say that children with sleep disorder have excessive brain arousal during sleep, which triggers the fight-or-flight response many times during sleep. Their blood glucose and cortisol remain elevated at night which is linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
With all that is stated above one can parent do to ensure that their kids are getting enough sleep?