GS Wellness Month: A Good Night’s Sleep is Crucial for Kids!

The Grammar School focused on sleep during the final week of Wellness Month. Why is sleep so important for children? To gain more insight, CGPS Weekly checked in with Grammar School psychologist Rebecca Hutt and Grammar School nurse Margarita Marasigan.

 

Q: How many hours of sleep should children of different Grammar School age groups be getting per night?

Ms. Hutt: Children three to five years old should be getting 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night, and children six through 12 should be getting nine to 12 hours per night.

 

Q: How does a good night's sleep improve our social and emotional learning?

Ms. Hutt: Good sleep hygiene, including getting the optimal amount of sleep consistently, improves learning across areas. It increases our ability to concentrate and think more clearly, and it has also been linked to an increased ability to problem-solve. Throughout the school day, children are constantly learning, both academically and socially. Having a good night sleep is an important foundation to optimize their ability to learn and retain new information, as well as navigate obstacles — both socially and academically.

 

Q: What is emotional regulation and how can a lack of sleep impact this function?

 

Ms. Hutt: Emotion regulation refers to the ability to manage one's emotional reactions and responses to their experiences. A lack of sleep can lead to increased irritability and moodiness. It can also impact stress levels. As a result, it may impact a child's ability to regulate their emotional state and respond in a calm manner to potential obstacles and experiences throughout the day. However, keep in mind that these impacts are cumulative — one night of lost sleep does not have the same impact as many consecutive nights on a child's overall emotional well-being.

 

Q: How does sleep help with a child’s physical growth? What are the physical benefits children reap from a good night’s sleep?

 

Ms. Marasigan: In Grammar School-aged children, sleep is an important part of the complex process that helps them grow. While growth hormone is released throughout the day, the greatest amount of it is released after children begin the deep part of sleep. So without an adequate amount of sleep or with problems falling or staying asleep, the production and release of growth hormone can be disrupted. This not only affects their physical growth and development, but may also affect how well their bodies function internally and how well they are able to fight off illnesses. A lack of sleep can also affect other hormones which regulate how hungry you are and how your body metabolizes the food you eat. This can lead to overeating and problems digesting. Lastly, a poor night of sleep can often affect their ability to move well, leading to injuries, and an inability to focus at school the next day. They may appear cranky or tired and unable to get through the activities of the day.

 

For more information on the impact sleep can have on a child’s overall health, Ms. Marasigan recommends the following website:

 

https://www.parents.com/health/healthy-happy-kids/the-7-reasons-your-kid-needs-sleep/