The Benefits of Sleep

Is your child deficient in vitamin ZZZ??

Most parents realize that their child could benefit from more shut-eye, but recognizing what activities could be sabotaging the nightly routine can be tricky.

Parents and educators have always felt that sleep directly affects a child's mood, ability to learn and behave. But some of the latest findings from researcher's specializing in pediatrics also strongly correlate sleep with overall good health. "Sleep allows brain cells to "take out the trash" each night, flushing out the disease-causing toxins". Research out of Dalhouise University, in Nova Scotia, has revealed that repercussions from sleep deprivation are visible after only four nights of one fewer hour of sleep per night.

Dr. Mindell, associate Director of the Sleep Center at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia has recently released 7 critical reasons why all children needs their daily dose of sleep.

1. Sleep promotes growth.

2. Sleep helps the heart.

3. Sleep affects weight.

4. Sleep helps beat germs.

5. Sleep reduces injury risk.

6. Sleep increases kids' attention span.

7. Sleep boosts learning.

So, it's clear, sleep is important. Here are a few ways to help build healthy sleep habits, early on into your child's life.

Encourage self-soothing. Try putting your infant to sleep when she's still awake. By 6 months, most babies typically sleep through the night. If you are still using an electronic monitor to "watch" them sleep, consider turning down the volume to make your response time less immediate. Most likely, your delay will allow for them to drift back to sleep on their own.

Create a solid routine. By 3 months, parents should aim to create a consistent bedtime routine/ritual lasting no more than 30 to 40 minutes, bath time included. According to child specialist Dr. Durmer, "children who go to bed after 9 p.m. take longer to fall asleep, wake more often in the night, and get less sleep overall".

Set the stage for sleep. TV, tablet and/or computer lighting viewed within two hours of bed lowers the levels of melatonin -- a chemical that occurs naturally at night and signals the body to sleep by 22%. Eliminate the use of electronic devices following dinner. Add a bedtime story. Reading printed books at bedtime helps kids head off to dreamland with comforting and soothing visuals all while encouraging learning.

The intent behind sharing these helpful hits is to try to encourage and build on the habits currently being supported within most homes. We, at Burke Therapy, hope you have found these tips helpful!

Nighty, night! ;)

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