The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep for Kids Physical Health

When it comes to physical activity, many parents recognise the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, but sleep is often overlooked. You might think of sleep as a passive activity or unproductive hours, but while you’re asleep, your body is busy repairing and regenerating, which is so important for young children.

How Sleep Improves Physical Fitness

It might sound counterintuitive that rest improves physical activity, but downtime is just as important as exercise. Kids need energy to run, jump, play, and participate in sports, but all that energy has to come from somewhere; that’s where sleep comes in.

Here are the top five benefits of sleep on physical fitness:

  • Muscle recovery and repair
  • Hormone regulation
  • Improved physical performance
  • Injury prevention
  • Stress reduction

The body needs time to recover after physical activity. Research has found that longer periods of better-quality sleep are directly linked to higher levels of physical fitness in kids. On the other hand, insufficient sleep impairs children’s reaction time and accuracy and increases fatigue.

Muscles are repaired, recovered, and strengthened during restful periods. This process protects children from injuries, increases stamina, and gives them an added boost of energy to be active again. 

What can children do to rest?

When we think of the word rest, sleep is often the first thing that pops into our minds, but that isn’t the only form of rest. While sleep is incredibly important, children can also rest through gentle, quiet activities. A few great examples of ways to rest include drawing, reading a book, and doing a puzzle.

While understanding the importance of sleep is crucial, parents should also ensure their kids get sufficient sleep.



How to Know If Your Child is Getting Enough Sleep

Children need a lot more sleep than we often realise!

 The amount of sleep a child needs changes as they age, and while every child is different, the following are the expert recommendations:

  • Newborn      – ages 0-3 months:     14-17 hours, including naps
  • Infants          – ages 4-12 months:   13-16 hours, including naps
  • Toddlers       – ages 1-2 years:         11-14 hours, including naps
  • Preschool     – ages 3-5 years:         10-13 hours, including naps
  • School-age   – ages 6-12 years:         9-12 hours
  • Teenagers    – ages 13-18 years:       8-10 hours

According to scientists, children who aren’t getting enough sleep often fall asleep during the day, are hyperactive, have trouble focusing, struggle with completing school work, display behavioral problems, and are irritable or whiny.



Ways to Help Your Child Get More Sleep

Sleep hygiene is important for children of all ages. 

If your child has issues falling asleep or has poor-quality sleep, here are five tips to help your child get more sleep:

  1. Maintain a regular bedtime
  2. Create a regular bedtime routine
  3. Allow 30 minutes of winding-down time before bed
  4. Make the room as comfortable as possible
  5. Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime

Getting children to slow down is no easy task, but by teaching them the benefits of rest from a young age will set them up for a much healthier and productive future.


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