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Being an adult is never easy!
We have so many responsibilities and deadlines to meet on a daily basis. This make sleepless nights inevitable. We sacrifice our sleep just to meet the demands from work and the result of incurring sleepless nights is never favourable.
As working adults, we understand the need and importance of having sufficient sleep. However as parents, are we ensuring that our children are having sufficient sleep as well?
We often forget that children do experience their own stress from school as well. Hence similarly, our children sometimes sacrifice sleep in order to meet their respective deadlines.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Many of us are trying to obtain as little sleep as possible hoping to stay awake and complete more work. However, by sacrificing sleep, we are depriving our body the opportunity to rejuvenate itself. As a result, our performance the next day will be significantly affected as we are deprived of sleep.
When we sleep, it does not signify the period whereby our body and brain ‘shuts off’. On the contrary, our body initiates the performance of its biological maintenance as this prepares us with ample energy to function optimally the next day. Without having sufficient sleep, mental fatigue occurs!
As such, remind your children to have sufficient sleep before an examination. Burning the midnight oil is never recommended as it affects their examination performance the next day.
Benefits of Sleep
#1 Benefit: Improves Memory
It is a little known fact that sleeping improves memory! When we are asleep, our brain continues to function as it consolidates the information received or knowledge gained when we are awake.
Hence, when your children is attempting to learn a new concept in school, it is recommended that they read it before sleep and again after waking up! This allows your children to better retain whatever they have learnt when they are awake, thus resulting in better performance.
#2 Benefit: Encourages Creativity
Our brain is extremely busy even when we are asleep!
It functions efficiently in terms of consolidating information when we are sleeping. But do you know, our brain also reorganises and restructures information too? This is important for enhancing our creativity when we wake up the next day!
#3 Benefit: Sharpens Attention
Having sufficient sleep allows your children to maintain their attention in school!
When your children obtain ample rest, they are able to obtain and retain information more efficiently. Your children’s problem solving and critical thinking skills will perform at its best as they go through the daily challenges presented in school when they get enough rest.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
So how much sleep does an individual require per night?
There is no general answer to such a question as every individual is unique. As such, some people can function at their optimal despite having less sleep. However, the recommended number of hours of sleep required by your child is between 8.5 hours to 10 hours.
The result of sleep deprivation is often underestimated. Some of the effects of the lack of sleep are as follows:
- Inability to Cope with Stress
- Fatigue and Feeling Lethargy
- Reduced Immunity Response
- Concentration and Memory Problems
- Errors in Decision Making
Such symptoms are presented when your child is suffering from sleep deprivation. It is nearly impossible for your child to stay attentive and focus in school when they are suffering from the effects caused by lack of sleep! Hence, whatever that is taught during class will not be absorbed nor understood by your child as the need to sleep will be persistent throughout the day.
Myths of Sleep
Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle often has its misconception. Below are various myths regarding sleep. Learn the truth within these myths to strengthen your understanding of sleep!
Myth 1: Sleeping an hour less does not affect your performance during the day.
First and foremost, this is untrue!
It may not be noticeable to you but having even an hour of sleep less does affect your performance! It affects your ability to think and response quickly to certain situations. In the long run, lack of sleep can cause detrimental effects to one’s mental and physical health too! So beware parents!
Ensure that your children have sufficient rest every night and do not short-change them in the number of hours of sleep they should be getting.
Myth 2: Extra sleep alleviates fatigue felt during the day.
This is untrue as excessive sleep at night does not cure the fatigue felt by your child during the day. There are many factors that causes fatigue within your child and such factors include poor immune system or a lack of exercise.
Do not confuse quantity of sleep with quality of sleep! Quality of sleep is key to alleviating fatigue during the day. Allow your children to have a conducive environment to receive an undisturbed night’s rest so they will feel refreshed and rejuvenated to face the challenges presented to them the next day.
Myth 3: Loss of sleep during the weekdays can be replaced with more sleep during the weekend.
There is absolutely no truth behind such a myth and it even proves to be counter-productive!
Sleep cannot be replaced through such means. Hence, you should stop your child from compromising the quality of their sleep or even reducing the number of hours of sleep, regardless of which day it is. They are to maintain a healthy sleep cycle EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK in order to remain productive and attentive during the day.
By now, I believe that you have fully understood the importance of sleep. The benefits sleep bring are important as they allow an individual to be productive during the day! However, such benefits can only be reaped when your child is able to enjoy the quality of sleep received rather than the quantity of it.
Remember, during sleep, your brain is still continuously working! It consolidates and strengthens the knowledge received during the day, thus allowing it to be retained in your head. Hence, try encouraging your children to read a summary of whatever they have learnt before sleeping and after they wake up! It has proved to be effective in retaining the concepts they are attempting to learn and memorise.
We hope that this advice prove to be helpful to your children!