By Dr Rita Bakshi
For a new mother, it gets very difficult to set a proper routine for her baby. But, it is very essential to set one as the baby must get proper sleep as it promotes development, elevates their mood and ensures they are active. It is important for parents to inculcate the habit of proper sleep schedules.
The sleeping pattern and number of hours of sleep keep changing as the baby grows. A newborn (up to one year old) baby generally requires 15-16 hours of sleep, a toddler (over one year) requires 12-13 hours, children (three to 12 years) require nine to 12 hours and teenagers usually require eight to nine hours of sleep daily.
Here are some benefits of proper sleep for a child:
It is very important to know that proper sleep boosts attention and alertness of the child. A well-slept child will always be able to concentrate and focus more in comparison to a child who hasn’t slept properly. Proper sleep ensures a fresh, sharp and vigilant brain and if the baby has had a night of insufficient sleep, they are bound to be distracted, irritated and cranky.
Encourages proper growth and development
There is no doubt that babies who are well-rested, relaxed and well-slept have proper development, since growth hormones are generally secreted when the body is asleep. It is always advised to new mothers that a newborn must spend more than half the day sleeping.
Develop a proper routine and lifestyle
When the sleep cycle is on track, it ensures proper discipline and sets the tone for other activities of the day. This also results in a proper lifestyle of the child as various other activities are managed and maintained accordingly.
Prevents germ infections and improves the heart
While the child is at sleep, their bodies tend to produce proteins or Cytokines, which helps in fighting germs and infections while preventing several illnesses. Thus, it’s imperative that children take ample sleep to ensure proper health. Along with this, proper sleep also averts vascular impairment due to circulating stress hormones.
Lessens wounds and injuries
Children who do not sleep properly are generally also more prone to mischievous behaviour. But, with proper sleep, this is substantially reduces as there is a calming effect.
(The writer is senior gynaecologist and founder, International Fertility Centre.)