8 Things You May Not Have Known About Sleep & Child Development

Everyone knows sleep is important, and this is especially true when you become a parent. While it may not seem like your newborn needs all that much sleep, getting plenty of quality rest is crucial for child development at every age. To help you gain a better understanding of your little one’s sleep needs, Pottery Barn Kids has compiled eight unexpected ways that sleep helps your child during early development.

8 Things You May Not Have Known About Sleep & Child Development


Sleep is good for the immune system

If you have ever wondered why people get so sleepy when they’re sick, it is because their bodies are producing a protein called cytokine. These proteins are essential for battling illnesses and stress, and they force your body to spend time in bed while they work. Several studies have shown that kids who get enough sleep recover from sickness quicker than their sleep-deprived counterparts.


Sleep is essential for physical growth

Babies and toddlers spend about half of their lives in their cribs, and there is a good reason why. Essential growth hormones are secreted during a deep sleep more than any other time. Children who do not get enough sleep typically do have enough growth hormones in their systems.


Learning occurs during sleep

It may sound strange, but children actually learn while they are sleeping. A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst involved teaching lessons to 3- and 4-year-olds and then alternating having them take a nap and staying awake. The children retained the knowledge when they napped, but after staying awake, they forgot a percentage of what they learned.


Good sleep habits help children
to be better friends

Little ones who get a good night’s sleep have an easier time making friends. Sleep helps regulate emotions and moods, which can affect their ability to make good social choices.


Children who sleep well have more energy

Scientists have not quite figured out the exact link between sleep and energy levels, but better sleeping habits lead to having more energy throughout the day most of the time. Children are busy beings, and the older they get, the more energy they need to keep up with school, study time, homework, extracurricular activities and social engagements.


Children who get less sleep
tend to be clumsier

Does your child often stumble or trip over their toys? A Chinese study found that kids who get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night for their age groups tend to spend more time in hospitals and doctor’s offices having injuries treated than those who get a good amount of sleep.


Children who get less sleep
tend to be overweight

When a baby cries, one of the first things a parent does is feed it. However, studies have shown that parents who relied on non-food related comforts, such as rocking, swinging and swaddling, ended up with children who maintained a healthier weight.


There are number of serious health
problems that could be preventing
your child from sleeping

Of course, everyone knows that some kids suffer from night terrors or separation anxiety, but there could be other issues preventing your child from getting a good night’s sleep. Enlarged tonsils, obesity and sleep apnea are just a few. To help your child sleep better, try consistent bedtimes and routines, no sugary snacks before bed, soft bedding and a calm and quiet place to sleep. Pottery Barn Kids offers everything you need to help set up a comfortable space for your little one. If these do not help improve the situation, it may be time to visit your pediatrician.