Sleep and Brain Development are Concurrent

The relationship between Sleep and development

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Sleep and Brain Development are Concurrent

Ample of researches have been done on the relationship between sleep and brain development in infants and young children. The human brain is the most important organ in the body. It is made up of 100 billion neurons and a trillion glial cells. The human brain which comprises only 2% of the total body weight consumes about 20% of the energy generated by the whole body. It processes so much information each second – 95% of the thoughts and decisions are taken by the subconscious mind.

The brain of babies starts developing three weeks after conception. Infants and young children are considered as sponges because it has more brain cells at the time of birth than during the rest of their life. Lack of sleep affects brain development in multiple ways.

Make sure your child gets good rest and sleep every day to keep them healthy, energetic, and relaxed. Sound sleep is a must for the brain development of a child. It is equivalent to the food requirements of a body. Sleep should be sufficient and uninterrupted.

Why is Good Night Sleep important for you and your child?

For stronger memory in kids, the growth of new neural connections is essential. Adequate good night sleep facilitates this growth of new neural connections.

Many parents signed up their kids for so many activities before a kid joins the school to keep him active. But you should raise a well-rounded kid instead of an all-rounder kid. You need to simplify the schedule and focus on getting him to bed on time.

According to researches, sufficient sleep is essential for a child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health. On the other side, insufficient sleep leads to obesity, high blood pressure, mood disorders, insulin resistance, lack of concentration, and much more.

Benefits of Sound Sleep

  • Brain development
  • Improved learning – higher IQ levels
  • Better growth
  • Healthy heart
  • Weight management
  • Lowers stress level
  • Improves concentration
  • Healthy body and mind
  • A more social and active child

Factors Affecting Sleep

  • Body’s internal clock – Babies should sleep as and when they feel like sleeping according to their body clock or natural biological rhythms.
  • Sleep schedule – Newborn’s sleep pattern is based on their weight and feeding needs. During the first weeks, the less your baby weighs more often he needs to be fed and the lesser time he’ll spend sleeping and vice versa.
Weight of the baby Feeds per day Hours of sleep per day
2kg (4lb) 7-8 15
3kg (7lb) 5-6 17
4.5 kg (10lb) 4-5 20

All babies have their own pattern, this chart is a rough guide to sleep requirements.

  • Uninterrupted sleep – Babies should sleep without any distractions. Light or noises should not disturb his sleep.

In case any of the above factors are not optimal, sleep deprivation may occur which is harmful to the baby. Being parents, it is our responsibility to protect our child’s sleep and make it a healthy habit. Rather than correcting a bad habit, later on, it is easier to instill good habits at an early age.

Help your kids to follow the healthy habit to get sound sleep. Let your kids sleep for a longer duration and without interruptions.

Amazing processes that happen while your child sleeps

  1. Information Banking

Whatever your child went through the day, he sorts through all the information. While sleeping the brain keeps what it wants and gets rid of what it does not need.

Babies are always napping as they need frequent breaks to process and sort so much new information.

  • New Neural Connections are formed

During the deep stages of sleep, the brain cells are involved in facilitating the growth of new neural connections and reactivating the learnings. It helps to form long term memories.

Also, kids who get a good night’s sleep perform better in mathematics and languages in higher grades. So, academic success is linked with good night sleep.

  • Height Gaining

When your child wakes you up during the night because of pain in legs, he is sprouting in front of your eyes! According to doctors, bones do most of their growing at night which leads to growing pains in kids.

  • Stronger Heart

Adequate sleep helps children to grow with a stronger heart. It protects them from high blood pressure and other heart-disease risk factors.

  • Strong Immune System

Shorter sleep is linked to higher levels of the stress hormone – cortisol which reduces the activation of the immune system. During good night sleep, a child’s brain releases chemicals that support to repair the immune system.

  • Emotional Bonding

Dreams help to promote emotional bonding with family and friends. Kids often dream about their family members which facilitates positive emotional interactions when they are awake.

  • Controlled Appetite

A proper amount of sleep helps to keep a track of appetite by producing adequate levels of ghrelin and leptin in combination. Consequently, it regulates the appetite and reduces the chances of obesity. But with insufficient amount of sleep, the brain tells you to eat more as ghrelin levels are higher and leptin levels are lower.

So, sleep-deprived kids have more problems and prone to temper tantrums as compared to well-rested ones. A child might get exposed to anxiety and depression if sleep deprivation becomes chronic.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Your Family’s Sleep Has to Be a Priority

by Rebecca Kempton, MD

The Sleepless Teenager

by Tali Orad
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.