When we talk about sleep issues like insomnia and snoring, it’s easy to forget that these aren’t exclusive to adults. Babies, toddlers and youngsters experience them, too. Children might not be able to verbalize specifically about what’s happening with the quality of their sleep, making it even more imperative that parents be watchful for signs of trouble.
When your child wanders into your bedroom in the wee hours of the morning wide awake, it’s clear there might be sleep issues, but often the signs are much more subtle than that.
“Sleep influences health, achievement, performance and overall quality of life in both the short and long term,” says Terry Cralle, a registered nurse, certified clinical sleep educator and health and wellness spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council (BSC).
In children, sleep is a crucial component in their growth, development and overall wellbeing. A study published by medical journal Sleep in an article entitled Sleep and the Developing Brain stated: “The most fundamental requirement for healthy growth and development in young children include: loving support and protection by parents/caretakers, adequate nutrition and adequate sleep.”
According to the BSC, these are the critical signs to watch for in sleep-deprived children:
A child’s mood can speak volumes about their general wellbeing and provide important clues to sleep quality. Frequent bouts of whining, crying, tantrums and an inability to handle stress are important indicators, too.
Children might be short on sleep because of an overly busy schedule or an untreated sleep disorder. The rule of thumb is to consider sleep a “vital sign” – so basic and fundamental to our health, wellbeing and quality of life that it should be addressed at all healthcare visits.
Parents should be on the lookout for signs such as irritability, trouble falling asleep, waking up at night, having trouble breathing during sleep, loud or heavy breathing or snoring while sleeping, problems in daytime behavior, or falling asleep at school.
“If your child has trouble sleeping, talk to your child’s pediatrician,” suggests Cralle. “Any sleep issues including irritability, trouble falling asleep, waking up at night, having trouble breathing during sleep, and loud or heavy breathing or snoring while sleeping, problems in daytime behavior, falling asleep at school should be brought to the attention of your child’s healthcare provider.”
Insufficient sleep in children is associated with a higher incidence of behavioral problems. Kids who aren’t well rested often have trouble getting along with others. They’re more likely to have mood swings, struggle with concentrating, feel stressed and experience a lack motivation. Poor sleep in school-age children might result in hyperactivity and poor academic performance. Tired kids are more prone to accidents and injuries as well.
When behaviors like inattentiveness, impulsivity and argumentativeness become recurrent, it’s time to consider lack of sleep as the culprit.
Clearly, sleep is crucial in a child’s life and development. “It influences health, achievement, performance and overall quality of life in both the short and long term,” says Cralle. “The Better Sleep Council believes that sufficient sleep should be a personal, family, classroom and workplace value.”
A new mattress may not solve all your child’s sleep issues – but if they’re sleeping on an old or hand-me-down mattress, it might be worth a second look. What’s the true cost of a good mattress? If you spent $1,000 on a new mattress for your child and they slept comfortably on that mattress for 7 years, the cost of healthy sleep would be about half the cost of your coffee-to-go in the morning…
If your child is ready for a new mattress, we’d love to help you find the right one. Visit our Find a Retailer page and we’ll locate a store close by where your child can lie on our mattresses and you can talk to a trained sales professional.
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