Toddlerâ€“ Sleep Problems
Itâ€™s well known that babies and children require considerably more sleep than adults, the fact is
that their bodies work so hard growing and developing that to ensure they have
the energy to cope with the strains this puts them under, their bodies need
more rest. The average adult needs between 7-8 hours sleep a night to provide
enough rest time to function normally, whereas a toddler aged between
18mths-3years requires on average 13 hours of sleep [11 hours at night with a 2
hour nap time during the day] almost double the adult requirement.
With sleep being so essential for a toddler, any kind of sleep problem or disorder can affect their
overall development both mentally and physically, I regularly see this with exhausted toddlers.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The most significant problems caused by lack of sleep in toddlers is the decrease in brain functions, making
it difficult for them to concentrate, take in and retain new information which
often manifests itself and can explain their erratic and unpredictable behaviour
The other major concern is that it has a direct effect on their diet and appetite.
When a young child is overtired it often leads to change or decrease in their appetite. A child will eat
selective foods, a lot of parents describe how their children will only eat
i.e., crisps, toast or pasta or foods high in sugar and other carbohydrates which
provide the extra energy boost their body needs to function. This is obviously
not healthy long term and can lead to weight gain as the body is not taking on
the right nutritional balance and the tiredness causes lethargy, which also means
they may be less inclined to exercise enough to counter balance the effects of
the poor diet.
On the opposite side of the scale is the child who is underweight through poor appetite or refusing
certain food groups such as fruit and vegetables. Another concern of theÂ effect lack of sleep can have is on the
toddlers immune system, is coping with the added pressure it has from the weight, exercise and dietary issues.
With these problems in mind we can see why tackling sleep problems early on is essential, wishing or
hoping it will improve usually does not work. For those who are experiencing
sleep issues with your toddler, try talking to your health visitor and see if
they can help. If this failsÂ call the Sanity Nanny who can help your family restore some
normality,Â then you can all feel rested.