Small child

What happens when the child is not sleeping enough?

What happens when the child is not sleeping enough?


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Properly long and healthy sleep is a prerequisite for proper development of the toddler. The demand for sleep, however, varies individually and decreases with the child's age. What are the consequences of its deficiency in particular age groups? What happens when the child is not sleeping enough? We will look for the answer to this question later in our article.

Demand for sleep in specific age groups

As we mentioned at the beginning, the demand for sleep is greatest in the youngest children. At the same time, they are most sensitive to all kinds of deficiencies in this respect. With age, the time spent in bed decreases significantly, and from around the age of 5, naps during the day are no longer necessary.

In order to more easily capture babies who sleep too short, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has published recommendations on the correct length of sleep in different age groups:

  • Newborns up to 4 months old - no standards have been developed, but it is assumed that babies at this age should sleep about 16-18 hours a day (including naps during the day).
  • Newborns from 4 months to the first year of life - about 12 to 16 hours a day (including naps during the day).
  • Children aged 1-2 years - about 11-14 hours a day (including naps during the day).
  • Children aged 3-5 years - about 10-13 hours a day (including naps during the day).
  • Children aged 6-12 - The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has not developed standards for this age group. However, it is recommended that children of this age sleep about 9-12 hours a day.
  • Children over 13 years and adults - in this age group there are also no recommendations, but it is assumed that the optimal length of sleep in these people should be about 8 hours a day.

The need for sleep, and the child's health and conditions in the bedroom

There are a number of conditions that adversely affect the quality of sleep and cause that the demand for it can increase significantly. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Infections with fever - fever is a condition in which the body is fighting an infection intensively and, therefore, requires prolonged night rest.
  • Recovery period - the time when the body returns to its pre-disease balance.
  • Chronic diseases - the need for sleep is significantly increased by conditions associated with impaired airway - for example, allergic rhinitis, or hypertrophy of the tonsil or palatine tonsils.
  • Adverse conditions in the bedroom - noise, too high or too low temperature, low oxygen content or bright lighting in the bedroom negatively affect the quality of night rest.

The consequences of sleep deprivation in specific age groups

Sleep deficiencies have a negative impact on the child's health, psychophysical development and functioning in a peer and family environment. The most vulnerable to his deficiencies are newborns and babies, which are in a period of intensive development. Sleep deficits can be seen in these babies difficult to control crying bouts, excessive irritability, lack of appetite, delayed psychophysical development (defined as failure to reach further milestones in subsequent months of life), or vision disorders that may occur at a later age.

When it comes to preschool and school children, sleep deficits are particularly pronounced in the form of explosiveness, irritability, insecurity, shyness, or concentration and learning problems.

Sometimes it is also critical when it comes to sleep deficits adolescence (puberty). During this period, sleep deficiencies can be particularly dangerous - especially when it comes to mental (including functioning in school and family) and hormonal disorders.

What's worth highlighting, regardless of age group, untreated sleep deficits can also have long-term consequences. So they can lead to the development of numerous mental illnesses. Among other things, depression, anxiety disorders or neuroses. Somatic disorders, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and immune disorders may occur.

In a word, proper sleep is very important for both children and their parents. Care for him is crucial because it affects physical and mental health.

Bibliography:Pediatrics by Wanda KawalecHirshkowitz M., Whiton K., Albert S.M. et al. National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 2015; 1: 40-43