Besides, get quality sleep, and skimming off those unwanted pounds will be a more manageable option for the overweight child.
From your child’s point of view the world has got too may wonders to experience in a single day and they want it all at once. So it’s no wonder they don’t want to go to bed at night and will find any excuse to eke out their waking minutes.
The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations for the amount of sleep a child should get to maintain both physical and mental well-being is as follows:
18 months to 3 years – 12 to 14 hours
3 years to 5 years – 11 to 13 hours
5 years to 12 years – 9 to 11 hours
In the teen years sleep time should be around 9 to 9.5 hours.
Napping is good for youngsters and at 3 years of age 90% still enjoy a daytime nap dropping to around 60% for a 4 year old and 30% by the age of 5.
If your child has a weight problem he may find it hard to get to a good night’s sleep and not sleeping well may cause him to gain weight creating a vicious circle.
Sleep deprivation in children has been linked to increased insulin resistance, a symptom of type 2 diabetes.
Poor sleep can mean fatigue during the day with little energy for normal activity and their cognitive functions are more likely to be negatively impacted.
There are 5 stages of sleep. The first two stages are light where the heart rate and brain waves slow down in preparation for the next two which are deep sleep stages sometimes called delta wave or slow wave sleep.
In the fifth stage most of the dreaming takes place and is characterised, eponymous by rapid eye movement REM. These five stages account for a cycle, which repeat every 1.5 hours or so with the REM stage starting at around ten minutes getting progressively longer until it reaches, typically an hour just before full awakening.
This is normal in a good night’s sleep anyway.
For children who constantly wake up and therefore don’t get the full benefits of deep and REM sleep night after night are likely to be affected with concentration and learning problems, mood swings and memory issues.
To add further woes to the bad sleeping overweight child there is a greater likelihood of developing sleep apnea, the first sign of which could be excessive snoring. Although sleep apnea is more common in adults it is often more debilitating for children and it has certainly become more prevalent with youngsters.
Sleep apnea is where the airway passages become blocked as the muscles around the throat relax during sleep. This obstruction to the air flow typically lasts for between 10 and 20 seconds when the brain cuts in and forces a serious of gasps for breath.
This disruption often happens continuously during the night with the result that the sufferer doesn’t get the proper amount or quality of sleep.
Airways are often blocked by enlarged tonsils and adenoids but overweight children are more commonly at risk.
Your child, even from an early age, will treat the bedroom as a place to get away from adults and immerse herself into the indulgence of the day, but when it comes to lights off it’s important that the bedroom environment is suitable for quality sleeping. That means comfortable bedding, appropriate lighting and a still atmosphere.