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
- 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
- Sleep deprivation is related to type
2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension,
metabolic syndrome, reduced
immunity and cardiovascular