Ash Lee, a Primary 6 student, sometimes goes to school feeling lethargic and has been found dozing off during morning class on several occasions. Her mother, Rie, thinks this is because Ash goes to bed rather late every night, usually after 11pm. Rie says: “On average, Ash gets only about seven hours of sleep each day. In the evening, my daughter watches the 9pm news with us. She then completes her homework, checks her mobile messages or does some reading before calling it a night.”
Like Ash, many children in Singapore have a full-packed daily schedule, which can include tuition classes, sports practice, homework and piano/violin practice. To be able to keep up with the demands of their daily activities – both physically and mentally, it is therefore important that children get sufficient quality sleep. Here are 4 major reasons why.
#1 Sleep time is brain recharge time
The time we get our shut-eye is when our brain recharges for another day’s activities. Children of different ages need varying hours of sleep to wake up fully refreshed. Kids also require more sleep than adults to promote healthy growth and development. Here is how much sleep a child needs, according to age:
Parents should also make sure that your children are relaxed just before bedtime because stress, exercise and other stimulants prior to bed can disrupt children’s sleep patterns.
#2 Promotes overall well-being
Quality sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages, along with other factors such as exercise and a good diet. A good night’s sleep contributes to a stronger immune system, which means we are able to better fend off viruses and illnesses, resulting in fewer complaints of headaches, flu or the sniffles.
#3 Improves concentration and performance
Classroom lessons, sports, tuition and other enrichment activities all require energy and attentiveness. Having sufficient good quality sleep improves cognitive functioning which allows children to focus and perform better in their daily tasks and activities.
A well-rested child is also a happier child. Studies have shown that children who do not get quality sleep experience more mood swings and irritability. They may vent their frustrations or lose their tempers more than their well-rested peers. Having sufficient quality sleep not only helps children be their happier and better selves, it also improves relationship with their family and peers.
If you think your child should be hitting the sack earlier, now is a good time to start reorganising his “before-bed” routine to ensure that he is well-rested and all set for a bright new day!