The Importance of Sleep
Why is sleep important to overall wellness?
Health- Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. During sleep your body produces hormones which fuel growth in children, helps build muscle mass, and repairs cells and tissues.
Mood- Not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and contributes to bad behavior and difficulty with relationships. People who chronically lack sleep are more likely to be depressed.
Learning- We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. The pathways in the brain that aid with learning and creative problem solving are very active during sleep.
Athletic performance- According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation can affect athletic performance by reducing cardiovascular performance, decreasing mental functioning, reducing endurance, impairing motor function, and delaying visual and auditory reaction time.
The room should be dark without stimulation from computer lights, any electronic equipment except, if necessary, a dull night light. The other item can be a clock but the lighted dial should not be too bright or should be turned away. It is strongly recommended not to fall asleep or sleep with a TV on. Soothing music or nature sounds can be helpful for some people. The light from “screens” hit the back of the eye which sends signals to the brain telling it to wake up. “Screens” are any of the following things, T.V. screen, computer, tablet, phone and anything similar to these.
Children speed up when they are tired. You may notice them “hyper or reved.” Tantrums during the day can be an early sign of not enough sleep.
How much sleep do you really need?
Sleep needs vary from person to person and change throughout the lifespan. According to the National Sleep Foundation: preschoolers (3-5 years) need 11-13 hours of sleep, school-aged children (5-12 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep, teens (13-17 years) need 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep, and adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
For more information on the importance of sleep visit:
www.nih.gov (National Institutes of Health)
www.sleepfoundation.org (National Sleep Foundation)
Resilience is a key skill for children to learn.
Heather Makris, BSN RN NCSN
Luther Conant Elementary School Nurse