Why should we make sleep a priority?
Even if there is no 100% consensus why we actually need to sleep, most specialists agree upon the negative impact of sleep deprivation on our health.
Many studies evaluating the effects of sleep deficiency on health indicate that sleep affects our emotional well-being, cognitive function, daytime performance, physical and mental health.
In case of babies, sleep lays the foundation for a fit brain development, a strong immune system, a good mood and a healthy nutrition.
We all know how dysfunctional we could be if we are not able to sleep on a long term basis, especially if we are past our 20s. Unfortunately, we are not aware of the importance of sleep in the early years of our life and the impact it has on our health later on.
However, there have been many studies in the last decades which underline the importance of sleep for our children. They tend to prove the following advantages for sleep.
- Sleep helps babies learn better and consolidate their memory – an event which occurs mainly during deep sleep.
- A baby who sleeps longer stretches of sleep at night and naps well tends to have a better mood, an easier temperament and is less fussy. Moreover, some research has proved that many kids diagnosed with ADHD in school had actually suffered from sleep deprivation on a long term basis.
- Because the growth hormone is mostly released during sleep, babies who sleep better tend to develop better and reach their age appropriate weight sooner, whereas babies who sleep poorly are at higher risk for obesity.
- Due to good restorative sleep, babies’ immune system is stronger and they tend to get sick less than a fussy, under-slept baby.
There are also studies regarding the need for sleep for adults, especially for new mothers, who are at high risk of post partum depression because of sleep deprivation. Moreover, studies undertaken on 3-6 month old babies have proved that these babies can suffer from chronic stress due to the rise of cortisol level if taken care of a depressed mom or parent.
These are just some of the arguments which entitle sleep deprived parents to ask for help and try sleep training their baby. They are aware of their vital role in laying the life foundation for their babies, a state which requires this universal need for sleep.
“It is not selfish to sleep train your baby so you could cope better with life and be a more responsive parent” (Emma Purdue, Owner of Baby Sleep Consultant Training)
We can obviously see that if a baby sleeps well and longer stretches of sleep it affects not only his mental and physical health, his cognitive function and emotional state, but it shapes the whole picture of the family well-being.
Because “a happy baby means a happy mom and a happy family”!
Let me know if you are ready to make sleep a priority and start this rewarding journey.