Just How Important is Sleep to Your Child’s Development?

From a very early age, our children are taught the importance of a healthy, nutritious diet and of regular physical exercise. Alarmingly, another vital aspect of our physical and mental well-being is a huge struggle for many new parents.

sleeping baby

Sleep is so important for infants that it happens even when they are still in the womb, and newborns spend between 16 to 20 hours of the day asleep.

Although most parents can appreciate that their infant needs to sleep in order to grow and develop, many are unaware of the important sleep associations children acquire along the way. If a child is not given the opportunity to develop strategies to fall and stay asleep on their own, they may become dependent on something external to fall asleep, resulting in multiple night wakings.

Current research shows that between 20 and 30 per cent of all infants and toddlers will have some difficulty sleeping and of those 84% will continue to have sleep problems up until the age of five.

Sleep experts attest that consolidated sleep, which means uninterrupted sleep, is the most restful, restorative and healthy kind of sleep for both infants and adults. It is when the immune system recharges, growth occurs and things learned during the day are committed to memory. Sleep that is broken up with several night wakings usually leads to daytime sleepiness, a decrease in mental flexibility and attention, as well as impairments of mood and can have a huge effect on the overall health of the whole family.

Adults who have had as little as one night of fragmented sleep show a dramatic reduction in motivation and attention. They often feel overwhelmed by the tasks of the day and have difficulty making decisions. The effects on infants and children are even more harmful.

In order for children and adults to function at their peak performance, both must be getting adequate, consolidated sleep. Children who sleep 11 to 12 hours a night awaken well-rested, ready to cope, attentive, cheerful, and best able to learn from their environment. Parents, too, will feel better equipped to perform the demanding tasks of work and family life.

opener 700 x 355Dr William Dement, founder and director of Stanford University Sleep Research Center, explains: “Healthful sleep has been empirically proven to be the single most important factor in predicting longevity – more influential that diet, exercise, or heredity. And yet we are a sleep-sick society, ignorant of the facts of sleep and the price of sleep deprivation.”

Sleep expert Karen Bramall, of www.babysleepthenight.com, agrees and has helped many families across the UK solve their children’s sleep problems. Karen says, ”One in ten parents admit that getting their children to go to sleep is a ‘struggle’. If you have a baby, toddler or child who doesn’t sleep the night through then it really doesn’t have to be that way and can normally be solved very quickly.”

By enlisting Karen’s help, your sleepless nights can be a thing of the past within 10 days, often much less.

“Finding Karen has been truly life changing for both my husband and I as busy working parents (with previously no adult time) but especially for Aidan aged 18 months! Going down at bed time was a major problem and night wakings becoming more and more frequent coupled with lack of sleep resulted in Aidan joining us in bed most nights just so we could all sleep. I had read lots of information in books and online and felt I had tried everything. I was at my wits’ end when I found Karen’s details and little did I know that in less three days Aidan would be sleeping through 7.15pm until 7.45 in his own bed! Karen’s support and encouragement was unwavering and it gave us the confidence and determination to see it through. I would not hesitate to recommend Karen to anyone who is struggling as it has brought back to me how wonderful being a mother is now that none of us are sleep deprived.

“Thank you so much and hopefully we will be in touch when there is a new addition to our family.” Emma – Mum to Aidan

Karen offers individualised consultations (in person or via telephone) to help parents develop step-by-step plans to solve their children’s sleep problems and will then be there to support you throughout the on-going process. For more information please go to www.babysleepthenight.com, or call Karen for a FREE 15 minute consultation on 01794 341172 or email Karen@babysleepthenight.com