Why Sleep is So Important for Your Child’s Immune System
May 2, 2019 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink

by Lisa Smalls

Photo by Minnie Zhou on Unsplash

A tired baby is a crabby baby and as your child grows this never changes. There are many reasons why children experience insomnia, and according to research up to 33% of children experience sleep problems of some kind. Stress to stimulants, sleep disorders, and the child’s bedroom environment such as temperature and light all affect your child’s sleep habits.

How Much Sleep Should My Child Get?

Parents who struggle to sleep with young children in the house often forget how often their child actually sleeps. This is in part to a newborn’s sleep-cycle which consists of naps followed by short fits about every two hours. So, while your body requires continuous sleep, a baby will have you up multiple times a night. But, after about six months, your child has likely transitioned to a similar schedule as you, yet still requires more sleep.

The amount of sleep each child needs varies depending on age group. For example, your newborn up until about three-months-old will need between fourteen and sixteen hours of sleep. As your child’s sleep begins to adjust out of the two-hour cycle, from about a year to three-years-old, they will require at least twelve hours of sleep, often with one to two naps during the day. 

From three to six-years-old your child will need about ten to twelve hours of sleep each night and though naps begin to fade away around age four, some children will still nap. Until twelve years old you can expect for your child to get at least ten hours of sleep and by the time puberty hits your child should be getting a recommended eight-plus hours of sleep each night. 

Sleep and Your Child’s Immune System

Quality sleep may be one of the most important things you can do to help your child’s overall health. Quality sleep allows your child’s mind to regulate the body’s chemicals and hormones to repair and recover muscle tissue and inflammation, as well as organize and file, thoughts, emotions, and memories so that they can be recovered more quickly when needed. In addition, sleep promotes creativity, intelligence, and balance. 

One of the biggest concerns for children who suffer from insomnia and sleep deprivation is the affect on their immune system. Remember, sleep is the time your body regulates its functions and that includes protein which your immune system releases (cytokines). Cytokines production increases when your child has an infection, an inflammation or when under stress. The body also produces fewer infection-fighting antibodies and cells with sleep deprivation. 

In addition to not producing proteins and antibodies to fight off sickness, a lack of sleep has also been identified to contribute to a increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease. 

Tips to Help Your Child Sleep Better

Stop Device Use at Least Thirty Minutes Before Bedtime

While your newborn may not be addicted to a smart phone or tablet (we hope) there is a good chance that a toddler who is regularly exposed is. From your toddler on up to your teenager, it is important to set parameters around technology usage. Smart phones and tablets impact sleep in a number of ways. For starters, the blue light from tablets, phones, and televisions suppresses melatonin production. These devices also provoke your mind, keeping your brain alert and awake as well as creates sleep disruption throughout the night. 

Routine and Preparation

Children love routine and creating a calming sleep time routine will help ease your child into a routine to expect sleep. Routines should consist of calming and relaxing experiences such as a warm bath, reading a book, cuddling, and speaking softly. 

In addition to routine, a parent should be prepared for all those nighttime concerns a child may experience. From a hungry child to potty training, and of course, don’t forget the monsters. Having a game plan to tackle these issues will help you and your child adapt and get back to sleep much quicker. 

Create a Sleep Environment

Quality sleep really does begin with creating an environment conducive to sleep. This can mean blocking out light with a black-out curtain, playing relaxing music or white-sound, and ensuring your child has an adequate temperature in the room. Other things you can do is provide a comfortable mattress and bedding, use of essential oils, and controlling the humidity either with a humidifier or de-humidifier. 

Healthy Living

Healthy living can not be understated and includes everything from choosing healthy food options to getting adequate exercise and limiting stress when possible. Practices such as positive reinforcement and teaching your child how to handle stressful situations as well as mindfulness are good ways to help your child become confident in their ability to stave off worries and anxiety, get sleep and build a strong immune system. 

Bookmark and Share
Buy Our Book, 'A Mother's Circle'
Facebook  RSS

Warning: mysql_query(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/180010/domains/sohoparenting.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/quickstats/quickstats.php on line 345

Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/180010/domains/sohoparenting.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/quickstats/quickstats.php on line 345

Warning: mysql_query(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/180010/domains/sohoparenting.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/quickstats/quickstats.php on line 346

Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/180010/domains/sohoparenting.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/quickstats/quickstats.php on line 346

Warning: mysql_fetch_row() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/180010/domains/sohoparenting.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/quickstats/quickstats.php on line 346