It is a known fact that the quality of our sleep greatly affects the performance level of our day-to-day life. Kids who don’t get enough sleep experience more problems with school and performance, as compared to kids who get enough sleep. There are also some health benefits to getting enough sleep. People who get enough sleep are less likely to develop heart disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure. Kids who experience non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep are also more active than kids who get REM sleep.
So, why does a kid need eight hours of sleep per night? Well, the brain uses up most of the daytime energy supply after sleep, especially in younger kids. The other main reason for a kid not sleeping at night is because he or she gets too hot. The brain has two types of cooling mechanisms. One that helps prevent consciousness at night and one that prevents the brain from getting overheated.
Kids do not have a choice in regulating their body temperature. They will remain awake as long as they feel their brains need to cool down because their bodies are keeping them awake. But, when they go to bed, the brain will shut down completely and they will fall asleep. As babies, they cannot regulate their body heat, so they sleep soundly through the night.
In adults, it is also difficult for kids to sleep. Adults can fall asleep easily after drinking coffee or alcohol, but it is quite different for kids. Studies show that adults can go to sleep after taking up to seven hours of sleep, but kids are capable only of getting five to six hours of sleep. This means that adults can control their body’s temperature overnight and so can kids. Thus, adults should drink alcohol before going to sleep to reduce alcohol consumption, but kids should avoid it, especially when they have sleep apnea.
When kids go to bed, they wake up with less drowsiness than adults and they usually stay awake for longer hours than adults. Because they sleep for only half an hour per night, they do not have enough time to recover from the lack of sleep. Their breathing gets even more obtrusive and louder due to shallow breathing and increased brain activity during non-REM sleep. As a result, they do not get enough restorative sleep. Children with sleep apnea are often irritable and aggressive.
What sleep is and why all kids need it is because sleep apnea makes kids lazy and unproductive. It also affects their daytime functioning because they do not have enough downtime. It has been noticed that kids who have sleep apnea are constantly on the go and cannot concentrate. They tend to get into fights with their classmates because they cannot concentrate on anything else other than their breathing during the day.
What sleep is and why all kids need it may be clear, but what exactly is sleep apnea? It is a medical condition in which a person fails to breathe regularly while sleeping. The body briefly wakes up during sleep to renew the supply of oxygen to the brain, but this wakes the person up again in the night for breathing. This goes on. Chronic sleep apnea reduces oxygenation to the brain, which causes the brain cells to die.
What sleep is and why all kids need it is because our bodies need proper sleep just like adults do. Kids who have sleep apnea may be too tired or sleepy during the day, but they never get enough rest at night. Chronic sleep apnea can also cause depression in children, anxiety, poor concentration, and other behavioral problems.