Since the time of our grandparents, children have always gone to bed early. Just have dinner, stay a few more minutes in the living room and you’re done brushing your teeth, putting on your pajamas and sleeping! There was no scientific evidence, but popular wisdom already understood very well that children should not go to bed late. Were our ancestors right?
Discover a psychiatrist’s recent findings on the effect of short nights on children’s health
Childhood is the period where we grow faster. Not only in terms of physical growth, but in terms of the development of our learning and our skills. At this stage the brain looks like a sponge that absorbs everything around. Have you noticed how children are attentive, curious, and learn things at enormous speed? That’s because of the high learning power of our brains at this stage.
But what does that have to do with the fact that children shouldn’t stay up late? All! Listen well: during the night growth hormone is activated, which as its name suggests, makes it grow. Therefore, the less time children sleep, the less growth hormone can act in their body.
In addition to hindering body growth, late sleep causes the child’s development to be harmed at various levels: learning, psychological stability, intelligence, etc. During the night, the brain recomposes and in childhood many new neurological connections occur that promote healthy development of children.
Recent studies show that children who sleep late become more anxious and irritable, have lower concentration capacity, poor school performance, and are more vulnerable to psychological disorders.
The problem is that in today’s times it’s not easy to get kids to sleep early. There is so much technology and entertainment available that it is very difficult to send them to bed early. Cell phones, tablets,video games, TV, computers… all these devices are increasingly used by children without limits, which has been very harmful to them.
Never let your child bring his or her cell phone or tablet to bed, as that will keep him awake without your knowledge. The light of these devices is also very harmful, as it sends the brain a signal indicating that it is not yet bedtime, so sleep does not come. Set limits with your child and determine the amount of time you are allowed to use these technologies.
How long should my child sleep?
Doctors say the number of hours a child should sleep depends on their age. Children up to 18 months old should sleep between 8 and 12 hours at night, as well as have several naps throughout the day. After 18 months, the period of 8 to 12 night hours is maintained, but naps throughout the day are no longer necessary.