Kids & Company Blog

The Importance Of Sleep

Most of our parents have babies or small children, and sleep is a huge part of the entire family’s daily routine. If we haven't slept well as a family then life is so much more difficult.

I have lots to share in future blogs about babies sleeping, toddlers and moving to "big beds". I even have stories about baby number eight sleeping with us until he was close to five! This was not a good thing and is one of my parenting regrets.

It was interesting for me to read the chapter in Nurtureshock where the authors emphasize the importance of sleep for children. This is a very engaging topic for me and funnily enough, when I was in middle school, I won a science competition for my experiment on sleep and academic performance. In this chapter, Bronson and Merryman discuss when a child loses just one hour of sleep per night, it can:

  • Negatively affect academic performance (a study on a group of 6th grade children revealed that the nightly loss of one hour of sleep leads to 4th grade level performance in class).
  • Affect emotional stability.
  • Increase the instance of ADHD and obesity.

For small children, we sometimes have a problem getting them to sleep and keeping them asleep! For older children, sometimes life and all of the activities that they have going, along with homework and other obligations, means that sleep has become less important. In my family, we all love to sleep, so I have never really had to make sleep a priority. If this is not your world, all I can say is, encourage and support getting your children into bed as early as possible. If that means doing homework in the morning before school or missing a football practice, that’s okay! I know that without sleep, my children would not be alert in class and would not be able to function properly throughout the day (this is especially important on a test-day).