There’s no denying how a poor night’s sleep can lead to a bad case of crankiness the next day, but why? Are sleep and happiness really so dependent on one another?
While people used to assume lack of sleep made our brains more tired out and less active (thus, the “fog” and grogginess most feel), it’s actually something quite different. According to a study in Current Biology, lack of sleep can actually elevate brain activity – especially in the emotional centers associated with psychiatric disorders. (That’s just what all of us sleep-deprived parents wanted to hear, right?) In fact, the researchers found that the participants in this study who were sleep deprived had 60% more reactive emotional centers – a difference so significant it even surprised them.
It turns out, a good night’s sleep doesn’t just make us “feel” better, it helps us regulate our mood and cope with emotional challenges and stress.
Now, consider what that means for a child. Young children haven’t even developed the capacity to regulate their mood and cope with their emotions, yet. Even on a good day, that kind of behavior is a challenge. Compromise their skills even more by adding poor rest and it’s no wonder you can end up having an unpredictable, volatile, cantankerous kid on your hands! It’s just too much for their immature systems to endure!
Interestingly, some experts are now theorizing that ADHD and other behavior disorders might sometimes be misdiagnoses. They think perhaps the real problem in some cases is sleep deficits and disorders.
What can you do to promote healthy sleep for a happy child? Here are 3 basic tips:
1. Create routine. Having a regular schedule and series of activities you undergo before bed helps prepare your child for sleep and transition peacefully from daytime to night.
2. Eat sleep-promoting snacks. As part of your routine, eat healthy snacks that have natural, sleep-inducing qualities. Learn which snacks are best here.
3. Set the stage. Find the sleep aids that work for your child’s unique needs. Some kids like a nightlight, some prefer sounds like white noise, others are soothed by smells like lavender – and some need every option available! Check out our full line of sleep products that have helped millions of children find peaceful slumber.
Sleep. Be happy. Be healthy.