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How can Sleep Deprivation Stunt Child Growth?

Sleep is an essential activity that your body needs to get just as you need food and water to keep you alive and active. A night without sleep is not going to affect your health and body but if sleep deprivation continues for long, it can badly affect the growth hormones resulting in stunted growth.

Insufficient sleep, especially during crucial childhood years of development, will decrease growth. This is because, childhood is the time your body releases natural growth hormones during sleep. If the amount of sleep your child receives is insufficient, these hormones are suppressed.

From bones to muscles to nerves, this growth hormone stimulates and coordinates the growth of all parts of our body.   This hormone is especially found at higher levels in children who are in their active growing stage than adults. While proper nutrition and regular physical activity play a role in the production of growth hormones, sleep is the single biggest factor that contributes to it.

Results of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can lead to;

  1. Drowsiness
  2. Irritability
  3. Impaired Judgement
  4. Lower cognitive ability
  5. Serious physical and mental problems (In extreme cases)

Lack of sleep can also affect other hormones.

  • It can affect one’s sports performance and other activities
  • Increase one’s chance of getting sick
  • impacts fine motor skill development
  • Can lead to behavioural problems
  • Some may put on weight

Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity and diabetes as well. However, scientists are looking into the reasons to find out if this link has anything to do with hormonal changes.

How many hours a child needs to sleep?

Most teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. But many teens have trouble sleeping.  Lack of sleep can affect everything from our emotions to how well we focus on any tasks like studying.

Here is a quick Sleep Guideline

Sleep time can vary depending on a child’s age. The key to avoiding sleep deprivation in your child is to know how much sleep he/she needs.

  1. New-borns need as much as 18 hours a day
  2. A one-year-old needs 13 to 14 hours.
  3. Toddlers require even less sleep; 10 to 13 hours a day, on average.
  4. Pre-schoolers need the same amount of sleep as toddlers, roughly 10 to 12 hours daily.
  5. Older children get all their required sleep at night. So, basically 8-10 hours of sleep daily.

Easy Ways to get Adequate Sleep for your Child

Being a parent or someone who takes care of your child growth and wellness, you can make sure he or she gets enough sleep. To get adequate sleep here are some simple and easy ways to follow:

  • Get active during the day.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that disrupts sleep
  • Say no to gadgets or electronics in bedroom
  • Follow a sleep routine
  • Indulge in activities like reading books, listening to music, playing Sudoku, or get the child involved into doing anything that relaxes him or her.
  • Do not stress the child for anything for this may cause sleep deprivation

Adequate Sleep not only makes young children happier but also make them healthier too. Getting enough sleep in the form of daytime naps or at night is vital to get them grow at normal rate.


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