13 Benefits of Sleep for Kids

Importance of Sleep for Kids: 13 Benefits of Sleep for Kids

Sleep is so important so much so that there is even a National Sleep Awareness Week.  Every 15th March we commemorate the World Sleep Day. All this is not in vain. Getting your kid to bed early and having them there benefits them more than you can imagine.

Research studies have linked adequate sleep for kids to fighting childhood obesity, colds, and have better attention spans. These are but a few benefits of sleep to kids.

As parents, we often overwhelm the kids with chores. This way, by the time the kids are done with their homework they can only sleep for fewer hours than the recommended hours.

Furthermore, being that we are into work, work, and nothing else, we end up waking up the kids while preparing for our days. The truth is, when we are doing all these we deny these precious gifts to humanity a chance to enjoy their sleep.

Here are 13 benefits of sleep to kids.

1. Adequate Sleep Maintains the Children’s Heart

The CDC documents that sleep is not a luxury but a critical aspect of good health. CDC experts maintain that sleeping 10 or more hours for the kids can help prevent adverse effects on the heart including heart attacks, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

Lack of sleep, insomnia, could easily lead to high-stress levels that affect the heart of kids.

Sleep protects the kids from the circulating stress hormones and cholesterol that affects the arterial walls.

Children experiencing sleep disorders experience high levels of brain arousal which triggers hype-reactions and nightmares at night. Consequently, they have high levels of cortisol and glucose in the blood leading to childhood obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases in kids.

2. Sleep Promotes Weight Loss

Anecdotal and empirical evidence shows that getting inadequate sleep can cause the kids to become overweight right from infancy.  Sleep deprivation limits the production of hormone leptin which prevents overeating.

Affected kids are likely to consume more than they can contain consequently getting obese. When well-rested through adequate sleep, the kids eat better and are willing g to take good portions.

One out of every five obese kids is suffering from sleep deprivation, which is one of the 13 reasons why kids should have maximum sleep hours.

Systematic reviews and meta-analysis research studies have concluded that 92% of the children who get short sleep duration have a high propensity towards being obese or overweight compared to those that get longer sleep durations.

3. Sleep helps Boost Immunity In children

Sleep deprivation weakness the immunity of the children. The children end up getting exposed to illnesses and become weak.  Undeniably, this could spell doom to the kids as it makes them vulnerable to chronic and acute health issues.

Studies have shown that lack of quality sleep in children exposes them to viruses such as the common cold virus and bacteria. It also affects how fast a child recovers when they get sick due to impaired immunity.

Scientifically, as children sleep their immune systems release cytokines that increase during infections. When deprived of sleep, the children reduce cytokine release as well as the antibodies and T-cells and thus weakening the body.

It is essential to maintain a consistent sleep pattern for the kids for good immunity.

4. Sleep Helps Build Brain Cells in children

Quality sleep affects the cognitive development of children experiencing sleep deprivation experience impaired cognitive development. Consistent sleep helps the children’s brain to reach its maximum development capacity.

During active sleep, the brains of the kids develop connections and the myelin forms around the nerve fibers. It is also a critical time as it allows the relationship between the left and right hemispheres.

Lack of rapid eye movement phase (REM) of sleep in children, when they are dreaming, affects the formation of their memory.

REM sleep also affects the active growth of the brain. Sleep disturbances can cause bedwetting, sleep apnea, and nightmares.

5. Sleep Repairs Cells

Sleep in children is essential for the rebuilding and repairing of cells. When children are asleep, they release important growth hormones that strengthen the nervous system, help in metabolism, induce weight control, and improve immunity.

6. Sleep promotes Neuron-Development in Kids

Childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood is an essential period for neuronal development. Getting adequate and quality sleep in children reduces the chances of hyperactivity or impulsivity in children.

Sleep has been shown by different studies to be an essential factor in brain development.  There is a strong correlation between sleep and neuroplasticity, thus its role in the development of the brain.

Children who lack sleep end up having language and reading difficulties and are more likely to develop brain-related disorders like ADHD as they grow.

Getting quality sleep, with uninterrupted sleep sessions, helps in the development of the gray matter or brain tissue and alteration of synapses or brain circuits. The first three years of life is the best time for these changes to occur, which explain better recovery rates of children from trauma.

This point very well answers your question on the importance of sleep in child development.

7. Sleep Boosts Learning In Children

Numerous research studies have detailed that newborns use their sleep periods as a chance to learn.  An infant's brain may be busy the entire night, which is the period they are actively sleeping.

If you observe closely, you will notice that kids twitch in their sleep, which is an indication of the nervous systems testing the connections between the nervous system and the muscular systems.  

At a more lay level, it is always advisable to have kids and children take some naps. It naturally boosts their memory, and they can remember what they learned in class.

During sleep, the brains of the children store what they have learned during the day. In this process, the minds transform the learned material into knowledge.

Enough sleep in children supports long-term memory development. Therefore, this means that kids who sleep longer can take much information compared to those who are sleep deprived.

When the kids wake up, their brains use the last stages of REM sleep to store and sort the memories of the previous day and create room for the day ahead.

The explicit childhood knowledge only becomes of use when a child gets adequate sleep. This means that children who sleep well have focus and concentration all day. When children can concentrate on their daily activities, it increases their chances of learning.

8. There is a strong Relationship Between Sleep and Growth in Children

We all have those moments when we hold our babies or observe our kids and say to ourselves they have grown overnight. Well, even though this is figurative, it indeed portrays the power of sleep in the growth of toddlers and children.

During sleep, the children secret growth hormone responsible for their growth.

Sleep boosts growth in children as they can release high levels of Growth Hormone. It is critical to have the kids sleep deeply and long. Typically, this means creating rooms and having materials that ensure sound sleep for the kids.

For me, a good bedroom does magic, and the kid has grown healthy from the day I realized sleep is good. Does this answer your concern about the importance of sleep in child development? Yes, that is how powerful getting some winks can benefit our kids.

9. Sleep means better concentration and Attention for Kids

Children are innocent beings who need more sleep to explore the world when they still have time. Attention and focus in children help them learn new things.

Studies have shown that children who sleep less than the recommended 10 hours before the age of 3 years can become hyperactive and impulsive by the age of 6. Even when kids do not have ADHD, lack of sleep can make them develop distractions and impulsivity.

This could mean that we are spending huge bills on misdiagnosis when the problem is sleep deprivation. Children who sleep more than 10 hours manage their moods and impulses to the extent that they can focus in school.

10. Sleep Helps Fight Germs and Pathogens in children

When children are sleeping try to produce cytokines, which are natural proteins that protect the body against stress, infection, and illness. Therefore, adequate sleep in children helps the release of these cytokines that keep them safe from infection-causing germs. 

Little sleep affects the production of cytokines and could only mean more infections, illnesses, and high-stress levels, all which come with associated burdens to the parents or guardians.

Studies with teenage participants have indicated that those who sleep for long hours declined in reporting illnesses compared to those who sleep less than the recommended hours.

11. Sleep Reduces the Chances of Injury in Children

Kids are destructive by default as they explore their surroundings. Lack of sleep worsens the situation. Consistent lack of sleep in children makes their muscle and cognitive development slow. They grow to be clumsy and impulsive.

A Chinese-based study found that short sleepers were likely to have injuries that demanded the attention of physicians compared to those who slept the whole recommended hours. Children who have many injuries are those that spent less than 9 hours of sleep.

12. Sleep and Mental Health in Children

Recent research has connected enough sleep in children and mental health. During sleep, the children’s brain restores the resources used during the day. Well-rested brains are likely to engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, learning, and creativity.

Children who have adequate active sleep are creative, focused, problem-solvers, optimistic, happy, energetic, and have excellent social skills, which are all signs of good mental health.

A recent study found that sleep disturbance is associated with mental disorders in adolescence. Examples of such disorders that arise in children due to lack of sleep include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and mood disorders.

Lack of sleep in children causes bedtime struggles, nightmares, snoring, restless sleep, nocturnal awakening, sleepwalking and talking, and fear of the dark, which is associated with psychiatric disorders in adolescence and early adulthood. 

13. Sleep Helps Children Bond with Friends and Family

Yes, you read that right. When the children are sleeping they dream. Dreams are a default setting within our lives to navigate life successfully. Dreams have an impact on mental health, cognition, emotional growth, physical health, and mood development, to mention a few, which are beneficial to the development of social skills in children. When the kids sleep, it is time for them to internalize their interactions with strangers, parents, and friends which facilitates positive emotional interaction with people. Sleep also helps the kids to get rest and be happy. Happy kids can easily interact with other people and develop positive relationships. Lack of sleep causes depression and anxiety in children and youths translating to poor social skills. Kids and adolescents who miss quality sleep develop isolation behaviors.

Now you know, we have sounded scientific because these are credible and evidence-based benefits of getting your children to have enough sleep. Use these 13 benefits of sleep for kids and let them be the subjects of the benefits. Now, how many hours of sleep are recommended for children of different age? To answer your question, please see the next section.

What is healthy sleep for Kids? Recommended Sleep Hours or sleep durations by age

As a parent, you could be worried about how much sleep does a 4-year old need. The truth of the matter is that sleep for children varies depending on their age. Other factors such as diseases might also dictate the amount of sleep a child needs. All the same, sleep is important for the mental, social, and physical development of toddlers, children, and teens.

Most of the parents recognize that children need to sleep. However, not so many of them understand the recommended sleeping hours for their kids. Unfortunately, lacking 30-60 minutes of sleep can affect your child.

It is usually hard to know if a child is not getting enough sleep. Primarily, compared to adults drowsy children wind up instead of slowing down. Children love acting as though they are not tired. Nevertheless, becoming hyper as the evening sets in and progresses and resisting bedtime could be a sign of overtiredness in kids.

It is worth noting that there are some underlying psychiatric disorders such as ADHD that can cause sleep loss in children. Clinicians and researchers have also reported that sleep apnea, while thought only to affect adults, affects children significantly.

Children with sleep apnea wake up so many times in every hour of their sleep. This happens due to the struggle to grasp their breath. One telltale sign of sleep apnea in children is snoring.

Age Recommended Sleep Duration Likely Appropriate Sleep Duration Not Recommended Sleep Duration
Newborns (1-4 Weeks Old)

15-18 hours-They can sleep in short periods of two to four hours each. Their sleep time is not yet affected by daylight or night time cycles because they do not have an internal biological clock as yet.

Premature babies might sleep more and colicky babies sleep less.
10-19 hours

Less than 11 hours

More than 19 hours

Infants under 1 year (4-11moths)

12-16 hours

The goal of this period is to set a sleeping habit for the kids. The babies are already more social and their sleep patterns begin to be like that of adults.

The number of naps at this age drops from three to two. The naps help children set their biological rhythms.

Midmorning one-hour powernap can begin at 9 a.m. and the afternoon one can start anywhere between 3 and 5 p.m.

10-17 hours

Less than 10 hours

More than 18 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years)

11-14 hours

Kids automatically lose their morning and early evening naps. They tend to nap only once a day. Most of them go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. Their recommended wake time should be between 6 and 8 a.m.

10-14 hours

Less than 9 hours

More than 16 hours

Pre-schoolers (3-5 years)

9-11 hours

They go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up between 6 and 8 a.m. Naps are shorter but they are still napping

9-12 hours

Less than 8 hours

More than 12 hours

School-aged kids (6-13 years)

9-11 hours

The social interactions make bedtime shorter.

They usually go to bed at around 9 p.m. some can go to bed between 7.30 and 10 p.m.

7-12 hours


Less than 7 hours

More than 12 hours

Teenagers (14-18 years)

8-10 hours

Sleep becomes vital to their health and wellbeing. The bedtime varies due to many factors.

7- 11hours


Less than 7 hours

More than 11 hours

If you suspect that your child is having insufficient sleep, the best action would be to book an appointment with a pediatrician or physician. Upon screening, the pediatrician can recommend you to a child sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment.
What time should a child go to sleep? This is one of the common questions that parents ask. Well, the appropriate bedtime as supported by research is between 7.00 and 8.00 p.m. An early bedtime works magic for the toddlers and kids of the school going age.

How do I get my kid to have a maximum sleep?

There are different strategies parents can use to get the kids to sleep for the recommended hours.

1. Limit caffeine intake for the kids.

2. When the child wakes up mid their sleep, try and walk them back to their room without causing any commotion.

3. Set time limits when the kids are allowed to leave their room. If they wake up early, they can play and eventually get back to sleep.

4. Limit screen time before bed.

5. Have a light-off policy to enable children to go to bed early.

6. Spice up the kid's bedroom with quality beds, pillows, sheets, pictures, art, and sheets, among others. Think about this, would it cost more to spend $1000 for your kid’s mattress and have them sleep well for the rest of 7 years of their lives or you would rather spend less and have the kids get the negative effects of adequate sleep? It is your choice and call to make; ours is to advise.

7. Encourage the kids to take a warm bath before bed. If they are not in the age where they can bath alone, have the nanny bathe them with warm water, or you do it yourself.

8. Have a bedtime routine to help the kids understand the importance of sleep. You could have a bedtime story for the kids and a reflection or yoga sessions for the youths.

9. You can also make sleep time audits using sleep trackers. It is the best and most accurate way to diagnose the sleep issues affecting the kids and youths.

10. If your kid is having problems with sleep and you have tried all the above methods, visit a sleep specialist for medical interventions.

Parting Shot: You need to get that child and adolescent to sleep

In summary, this article highlights the importance of sleep in child development and holistic well-being. The 13 benefits of sleep for kids, highlights the different benefits of sleep to kids from the age of 1 year to below 21 years. in this, we answer your question: what time should a 4, 5, 10, or 12-year-old go to bed?

Healthy sleep should be uninterrupted in children. Quality sleep is associated with growth, learning, good mental health, neuronal and brain development, reduced injuries, and attention in children, to mention a few.

It is, therefore, important to ensure that your children get adequate sleep during their formative stages. Sleep could be the answer to childhood obesity and related diseases that have a financial burden on families.

There are recommended sleep durations for kids as outlined in this article. A final comment from us would be a word of caution. This article is meant for informational consumption and does not denote a patient-doctor/sleep expert relationship.

It helps you understand the benefits of sleep and make your child sleep for the recommended hours. You realize that the answer to how much sleep does a 12-year-old kid need depends on a myriad of factors. 

If your child has sleep disturbances, kindly see a general practitioner for recommendations on the right medical course of action to take and referrals to the right professionals that can help. Have a happy read and get your child enough sleep, it is vital for their overall health.

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