Babies sleep for 11-17 hours a day and there are 5 reasons why you should let them. Right from physical, neurosensory and brain development, sleep helps your children grow, learn and live better.
- Enhances physical growth: Growth hormones are secreted during sleep and these secretions lead to length and weight gains in the baby. Sleep and growth in babies, for this reason, go hand in hand.
- Stimulates Neurosurgery development: Discharges from the neurons during sleep help in visual, auditory, touch and vestibular systems. This stage of sleep is called REM sleep and is critical for visual development specifically. They make important connections between the brain and eye cells.
- Brain development: Sleep improves brain plasticity which is the ability of the brain to adapt to new and different environments by changing its function & structure. A decrease in this ability will lead to reduced learning, negative behavioral effects and smaller brains.
- Improves learning ability: Memory enhancement is one of the most significant effects of sleep and helps kids learn better. There are several studies which have proven that sleep after a teaching session and before a test helps improve results. In one such study where 15-month-old babies were being taught an artificial language, it was seen that after a short nap when they were tested, the kids who did sleep were able to form abstract relations between two words and remember them and other new words which were not taught to them, based on that relation. Whereas the babies that didn’t sleep could remember only the words they were taught.
- Improves temperament and behavior: This is no surprise and is not just restricted to kids. It’s common sense that incomplete sleep makes one cranky, thereby affecting the next day. Babies will be less irritable and more at peace and happier when they are allowed to complete their sleep. They’re also more approachable.
So parents, don’t get worried if your little one sleeps too much, and please don’t wake them up!