Good sleeping for children

School holiday is finally over, a new semester has begun for most Malaysian students.  Many tend to sleep past their bedtime during the school break due to influences like PlayStation and YouTube. However, it is important for a child to have a good amount of sleep, as it plays a vital role in determining your child’s performance in school not to mention good health. Having to sleep an average of 10-12 hours a day would be the standard hours for ages 7-12 years old. But it is found that 45 and 85% of 6th to 12th grade students report sleeping less than the recommended amount on school nights.  Students who slept lesser than the recommended hours often showed signs of lethargy and would heavily impact the child’s performances in school.

Here are some of the effects when your child is experiencing a sleep insufficiency.

1) Increase in mental state
When sleep is being affected, there is an increase in the autonomic sympathetic activation (Triggers body stress response). It produces stressful body processes like blood vessel constriction, changes in the dynamics of the blood flow, and also increase in blood coagulation which may lead to clots causing Cardiovascular diseases (CVD). By affecting stress hormones, sleep disruption may directly affect functionality, including cognition and mood.

2) Obesity
Having a deprived sleep would often cause overeating in adolescent. University of Chicago researchers reported in the December 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine that a lack of sleep changes the circulating levels of the hormones that regulate hunger, boosting appetite and a person’s preference for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods. It is also believed that lack of sleep also can affect the ability to metabolize sugar and trigger insulin resistance, a well-known factor for diabetes.

3) Physical growth
Growth hormones are released into the bloodstream during deep sleep. Having lesser hours of sleep may impede on the growth of your child which results in a decrease in the release of growth hormone.

4) Grades in school
Lack of sleep can also have a negative effect on how a child learns. Overtired kids work more slowly because it’s hard for them to remember what the teacher just told them or what they just read. Their brains have a harder time focusing, even interfering with the formation and recall of long-term memories. When kids are sleep-deprived their brains actually lapse into sleep-like brainwave patterns, which is why tired kids space out during class.

5) Immunity
Lack of sleep decreases the function of the immune system.  The immune systems help to fight of infections which are caused by bacteria and viruses. With a depressed immunity, the body will not be able to overcome the infection easily.