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    Sleep is Important

    Introduction
    What Can Affect Sleep
    Effects of Poor Sleep
    Where to Seek Treatment
    KK Women's and Children's Hospital
    Contributed by Respiratory Medicine Services

    Overview

    Children need sleep for growth and memory

    Sleep is an important part of healthy growth and development in children, just like nutrition and physical activity.

    Contrary to the common perception that sleep is only a passive state during which the bodily processes slow down and the body rests itself at the end of the day, many active physiological processes take place in the body during sleep. Amongst these are memory consolidation and growth hormone secretion, which are important physiological processes in children.

    The paediatric sleep specialist is concerned with both the quality and quantity of sleep in children.

    What Can Affect Sleep

    Sleep-related disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea or sleep terrors can disrupt the child’s sleep.

    Medical conditions in children, such as uncontrolled asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema, can affect the quality and duration of a child’s sleep.

    School work and social pressures, and the increased usage of electronic devices in this day and age, can also impact on bedtime and the duration of sleep in children and adolescents.

    Why get a good night’s sleep?
    Effects of Poor Sleep
    Poor sleep can have various adverse effects on a child’s health:

    • Sleep deprivation can affect daytime alertness, judgement, memory, reaction time and motor performance.
    • The lack of sleep is associated with behavioural problems and emotional disturbances, which may reduce the ability of the child to perform optimally at school.
    • Decreased slow wave sleep (one of the stages of sleep) is associated with decreased growth hormone secretion during sleep.
    • Sleep deprivation is related to type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, reduced immunity and cardiovascular problems.
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