Sleep deprivation in children: symptoms and consequences

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Sleep deprivation in children: symptoms and consequences


Because of the hectic life and digitization of the 21st century, children today sleep about one hour less per night than they did 30 years ago. It may not seem like much, but that less hour can have serious consequences. Children’s brains are still developing. This means that sleeping an hour less is more harmful than losing an hour of sleep in adults.

Also read: Sleep schedule: How much sleep does your child need?

How do you recognize sleep deprivation in children?

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If your baby sleeps very little, you can identify this by some behaviors that you may also perform after a period of little sleep:
  • difficulty waking up This may be a sign that your baby either fell asleep late or did not sleep deeply enough.
  • To be in a bad mood. Lack of sleep affects your child’s mood. He may get angry or start crying more quickly.
  • Take a nap. If your baby naps all the time during the day, this may indicate sleep deprivation.

Also read: What if your child is afraid in his room? Sleep coach Natalie offers tips

Consequences of sleep deprivation in children

  • If babies sleep a little structurally, they can gain weight. Those who do not sleep enough produce more hunger hormones and stress hormones. Both ensure that you are more hungry and therefore will eat more.
  • Due to lack of sleep, children are less able to store new information and are less able to control themselves. As a result, their educational performance suffers.
  • less growth. During sleep, the pituitary gland produces growth hormone. If this hormone is not produced in sufficient quantities, the baby will grow at a slower rate.
  • Your child may eventually show more aggressive behavior and become emotionally unstable. Scientists even see a link between sleep deprivation in a child and a diagnosis of ADHD/ADHD.

Also read: “Help, my baby wakes up very early”

Tips for a better night’s sleep for your baby

Fortunately, as a parent, you can take an active role yourself in improving the quality of your child’s sleep. some advices:
  • Make sure your child is relaxed before going to bed. For example, a warm bath can help.
  • Create a bedtime ritual. Doing the same steps every night before bed — for example, brushing your teeth, reading a book, turning off the lights — can promote sleep.
  • Spend quality time with your child. Set aside time for your child before going to bed. Ask about his day, talk to him or give him a hug. Your child will calm down from these types of procedures.
  • Ban electronics. Make the bedroom an electronics-free zone. Start the bedtime routine early enough so that your child is away from screens at least an hour before bedtime.
If you suspect that the problem is more serious, you can also consult a doctor. He or she may be able to create a sleep plan, identify an underlying condition such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, or refer you to a specialist.

Also read: What if your child falls asleep after school?


Last updated: January 2023

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