Super Sleep: Are your kids getting the rest they need? - passionforlanguage

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May 25 2017
  • By Sian DG
  • Posted id EditorialsPosted id Latest

Super Sleep: Are your kids getting the rest they need?


Nowadays, a good night’s sleep can be hard to find with our Hong Kong kids’ busy schedules. Long school days, numerous extra-curricular activities and multiple homework assignments can easily push bedtimes back. But how important is a good night’s sleep? Should we really be sacrificing slumber?

Are your kids getting the sleep they need?


Sleep refreshes their brains and bodies

Sleep is important for all of us since it is our bodies’ natural way of fighting infection and repairing bone and muscle injuries. Children however, require significantly more to allow not just their bodies, but their brains to grow. The British National Health Service recommend around 10 hours sleep per night for 9 year olds, 11 hours for 5 year olds and up to 12 hours per night for 3 year olds. Any less, and your little ones may be at greater risk of illness and long term health issues. Sleep is essential for healthy development. What’s more, studies have shown that those with too little sleep are more likely to feel stressed. During deep sleep, the brain processes all the events and emotions of the day, reducing anxiety to leave us feeling calmer once awake. Therefore, having more much-needed rest at night may mean a happier child.


Sleep makes for more effective learning

While tired kids may be irritable, disinterested and distracted, those with a regular sleep cycle will have the focus they need to get the most out of their studies. Arriving at school or tutoring refreshed from their slumber will help students to concentrate in their lessons. After class is over, all those new facts and ideas that whizz round their brain during the evening are consolidated during sleep. Once the first few phases after settling down have passed, deeper sleep phases are thought to be when the brain gets to work. Researchers at Harvard Medical School suggest “REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep seems to plays a critical role in the consolidation of procedural memory”. Short-term memories collected in the day are moved to long-term memory storage. Prolonged periods of sleep should allow your child’s brain to consolidate memory thus cement their learning. When it’s time to put their knowledge to the test, kids will have a better store of information and faster recall.


PFL’s top tips for super slumber

  • Keep bedtimes early and regular to get your kids into a routine so their body clocks are ticking correctly.


  • Avoid items that encourage too much activity before bed such as sugary foods or screens with artificial lights.


  • Wind down each day with a simple routine: perhaps a bath, followed by a bedtime story, some cuddles, then lights out! This set routine signals to the child that his or her day is ending in a peaceful way that is ideal for settling kids’ brains before sleep.


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