Sleep plays a crucial role in our lives and, for an infant, it’s the single most important thing. For toddlers between the age of 0-3 years, this period is extremely critical as it decides their overall lifetime development. There are numerous studies which show that if babies are sleep deprived in their early years, it puts their development and learning capacity at stake.
As a parent, you must be wondering how sleep deprivation could expose your baby to a wide array of health issues. To start with, the first 12 months of your baby hold a lot of importance as this is when your baby’s brain grows at the fastest pace, which is very much dependent on his/her sleep. Good or bad sleep influences our toddlers in myriad other ways, too.
How much sleep does your baby need?
The number of sleeping hours varies with the age of your child. As your child grows older, the required number of hours lessens. Newborn babies typically require the maximum number of sleeping hours. On an average, a newborn baby between the age of 0-3 months should sleep for 14-17 hours a day. As the kid moves to the age group of 4-11 months, the sleeping hours reduce to 12-16 hours a day and lastly, a toddler of 1-3 years is recommended to get sleep for 11-14 hours a day.
What could sleep deprivation lead to?
According to most studies pertaining to infants’ sleep, common outcomes of sleep deprivation have been—lack of concentration, tantrums, aggression, impulsiveness, annoying or irritated behaviour. Research has shown that irregular sleeping habits in early childhood are potential reasons to blemish the subconscious or cognitive development of a child. If a child is vulnerable to sleeping disorders in his/her childhood, he/she is likely be a low scorer in school and lack spatial awareness.
In terms of behaviour, too, parents would notice that their kids are more susceptible to irritation, moodiness and tantrums. Studies have shown that if sleeping disorders continues over a long term, they are more likely to succumb into depression at later stages of their lives.
In a nutshell, sleep deprivation in the early years decides the baby’s development in many ways. Insufficient sleep can also affect their physical health. Lesser sleep leads to low energy levels which further deters them from sports or physical activities.
How to ensure healthy sleep for your little ones
To put it simply, the right sleeping environment and routine is the key to ensuring healthy sleep for little ones. Kids between the age of 0-2 years are more likely to lose their sleep even at the slightest noise. Hence, make sure the area where your child sleeps is peaceful. If your child often wakes up while sleeping, give them a coconut oil massage to relax them.
A blend of organic oil massage, hot water bath and a good talc can relax their body and give them uninterrupted sleep. Also make sure that they have clean and best quality of skin-friendly dry sheets in soft fabric, to avoid them waking up due to itching or irritation. These simple and handy steps can ensure a good, healthy lifestyle for your children right from birth.