During the week, when the kids have to go to school and the parents have to go to work, regular sleep schedules are necessary so everyone gets the amount of rest they need. In a perfect world, these schedules are followed strictly, but that is not the case sometimes (or often). And whether there was a consistent schedule of sleep on weekdays or not, everyone including the kids tend to sleep in during the weekend.
Lolas and lolos might be going “tsk, tsk” at your family’s, er, laziness although we prefer to see it as recharging for the week ahead. As it turns out, there are benefits to allowing your kids to stay in bed a little longer to get quality sleep, at least on days when they don’t have any school events to go to.
1. Kids need sleep to grow.
The common belief that children grow in their sleep is absolutely true, according to science. Parentswrites that Ken Noonan, M.D., a pediatric orthopedist at American Family Children’s Hospital performed a study on baby lambs. He found the growth plates in their legs grew more at night when they are lying down. Without the pressure of body weight, the growth plates opened more when they were sleeping, and Dr. Noonan says a similar phenomenon happens in humans.
Romper also discusses a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which found that a growth hormone is released by the body when a person is deeply asleep.
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2. Enough sleep lessens the risk of obesity.
SheKnowsreports that a study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggested that children who didn’t have the chance to catch up on their sleep during weekends were more likely to experience poor metabolic function and become obese. USA Today also reported that sleep deprivation can actually cause people to eat more.
It’s not just adults who get cranky or struggle to perform when we are sleep-deprived. “Lack of sleep can cause a lot of stress and difficulty for a child,” Dr. Hannah Chow, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System, tellsSheKnows. “Kids can have a hard time concentrating, which causes problems in school. There can be physical complications, such as headaches, and it can even cause a child to have a more negative outlook on life.”
If your kids seem grumpy or have a hard time at school, Dr. Chow says the best remedy is allowing them to get some more downtime. “Sleep is the only time our babies have a break and are not being constantly bombarded by stimulation. Our bodies need a chance to rest and recharge — this only comes with sleep. It’s important for parents to know how much sleep their child needs and then make sure they get it.”
4. Kids will get more energy.
When a child is more well-rested, she is much more energetic and ready for the day ahead. According to the Chicago Tribune, when we are asleep, our bodies replenish itself, so we are energized when we wake up. At the same time, sleep lets our bodies release hormones that slow our breathing and relax our muscles.
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5. You’ll both be in a better mood.
There is nothing fun about being woken up when you don’t want to, or dealing with a kid who is moody because she was forced to get out of bed too early. Dr. Robert Golenbock, a pediatrician at the Center for Pediatric Medicine in Connecticut, USA, tellsRomper that unless it is absolutely necessary — like when your child has to go to school or when there is a family event you need to attend — parents are advised to allow their kids the time to rest.
“By letting your child sleep in, you’re allowing your child to rest at his or her own pace,” Dr. Golenbock says. “When it doesn’t make a difference to your day, don’t force a schedule their brain isn’t prepared for.”