The Importance of Sleep for Kids

September 14, 2018 · Mattress Warehouse

The negative effects of sleep deprivation are felt by everyone that suffers from a lack of sleep. However, children are especially susceptible to a drop in cognitive and physical performance levels associated with lack of sleep. Sleepiness is associated with a marked decrease in knowledge retention, concentration, and physical performance. The risks of disrupting your circadian rhythm include negative long-term mental and physical effects. For young kids, these risks are even more severe.

During childhood development, missing as little as 30 minutes of REM sleep a night can have serious consequences. Lack of sleep can lead to childhood obesity, a weakened immune system, and impaired academic achievement. Normalcy and strict sleep schedules during early childhood are linked to better cognition and reduced behavioral problems. It’s important for children to follow a regular sleep routine to perform well in the classroom, develop positive relationships, and stay healthy.

Sleep and Cognitive Performance

Children who are overly tired will have a more difficult time processing and retaining the curriculum a teacher is presenting in class. Lack of sleep is correlated with moodiness, impulsivity, and inattentiveness. If your child has difficulty going to bed at a reasonable time, there are tips for better back-to-school sleep.

In one study, researchers measured students’ sleep and school performance and discovered that poor sleepers, defined as someone who had difficulty falling asleep and woke up at least once a night, were significantly less likely to have academic achievement. Children who were overly tired, difficult to wake in the morning, and fell asleep throughout the day were more likely to perform poorly in school. Exhaustion is one of the most accurate predictors of school failure, according to the study.

Sleep and Physical Performance

Sleep is important to immune system strength, energy production, and metabolism. When children are sleep deprived, the immune system decreases the cells that help fight infection and increase inflammation cells. This translates to difficulty attacking viral or bacterial infections. A healthy immune system is essential during the school year to avoid missing class and falling behind academically.

Peak physical performance in athletics and other extracurricular activities requires adequate rest. Sufficient shuteye leads to improved reaction times, higher accuracy, faster speeds, quicker muscle restoration, and lower injury rates. One study showed that hours slept per night were directly related to injury rates in athletes.

Lastly, childhood obesity is far more likely to be observed in children who do not get enough sleep. When a child is sleep deprived, their body increases production of the hormone ghrelin, which causes you to feel hungry and decreases production of the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full.

Children shouldn’t have to worry about where they’ll sleep.

Whether it’s staying up late to finish an assignment, watching TV, playing video games, scrolling on social media, cramming for an exam, or extracurricular activities, there are countless reasons that children don’t get enough rest each night. But finding a place to sleep shouldn’t be one of those reasons.

Youth homelessness affects thousands of students each year, putting them at a significant disadvantage in comparison to their peers. When a child has to worry about where they will sleep each night, getting enough hours of rest is the least of their concerns. This prevalent issue is something Mattress Warehouse wants to eradicate, which is why we’re teaming up with the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) of Frederick County. Mattress Warehouse is the premier sponsor of SHIP’s SleepOver on Saturday, October 13, 2018 with the goal of raising awareness and critical funds for the hundreds of Frederick County youth experiencing homelessness each year.

Donate to SHIP to provide new clothing, funding for youth enrichment activities, and emergency shelter to children in need. Together we can make sure every child is safe and gets a good night sleep.