Getting enough sleep is important to maintaining children’s health and wellbeing.
Sleep is crucial to human health. That’s something that most people understand on a basic level, yet few actually respect the value of sleep and make it a priority. This is a situation that plagues plenty of adults, and kids are even prone to struggles in this area as well. And, given the current mental health crisis that the country is facing for both adults and children, it’s important to look at any and all causes of mental health struggles. Could there be a connection between youth mental health and lack of sleep? Some experts think so.
Getting enough sleep is important because there is no part of health that lack of sleep doesn’t impact. Across the board, everything within a person performs better when they get enough sleep, and that certainly includes kids. The benefits of getting sufficient sleep can include stability of mental health, improved physical health, learning abilities, and much more.
It’s important to note that sleep should be as consistent as possible in order for kids to benefit. That means not only getting enough hours of sleep each night, but also trying to get sleep in a relatively predictable, repeatable window day after day. For example, if a young person goes to bed at 10 p.m. and wakes up around 7 a.m. most days, maintaining that general schedule throughout the week is going to be beneficial. The combination of sufficient sleep and consistent sleep seems to best support a range of health factors.
The argument for consistency with children actually extends beyond sleep, too. Kids thrive when they have set schedules, and sleep is no exception. Just the same as they might follow a daily routine, good sleep hygiene involves a routine as well.
There is no doubt that the screen-centric modern world has had a negative impact on sleep. Specifically, watching screens in the last couple of hours of awake time before bed can make it harder to get to sleep, and can reduce quality once there. Of course, adults aren’t the only ones using screens heavily, and kids who watch TV or use other devices right up until bedtime might have trouble getting the rest they need.
This speaks to the importance of good habits throughout the household, from the parents down to the kids. If the whole family limits screen time late in the evening, with the specific goal of getting better sleep, it can become a habit that everyone will understand and hopefully value.
There is no age when humans don’t need plenty of sleep to function at their best. From youth all the way through the elderly years, getting good rest is always vital. Of course, everything that is done for the kids in society needs to be given an extra bit of attention, so the topic of youth sleeping habits is one that deserves to be placed under the spotlight. Additional sleep alone is unlikely to solve the mental health crisis on its own, but it’s likely to be a big step in the right direction.