By Dr.Kandis Lock, Naturopathic Doctor
Or even just to sleep a little…
I had a recent realization that I am in a vicious sleep pattern with my wee babes. What started out as infant needs has now turned into toddler habits. Continual night waking’s with a constant need for mamma as led to sleep deprivation for us all. When I saw a post on Facebook about lack of sleep from a year ago (thanks Facebook memories!) I realized that the sleep issues in our house were not just a phase that would pass, and I needed to take action. So. I hired a sleep coach.
This weekend I am about to embark upon changing my habits and my children’s to allow for a chance to develop more consistent sleep for us all. This is not going to be easy, or even fun. But the end goal- sleep- is necessary.
Here is what sleep gives us (taken straight from Harvard Health- these people are smart cookies!) http://(https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch)
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
What about for kids? Here’s the deal:
- Sleep promotes growth: Growth hormone is secreted overnight- so for a healthy strong growing child, sleep is key
- Sleep helps the heart as it does with adults: If children are not sleeping well, both blood sugar and cortisol (stress hormone) remain high. These can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
- Sleep = healthy immunity: Sleep allows the immune system to fight infection. Typically you see less bouts of colds and flus with a child who has a healthy sleep pattern (this doesn’t mean, NONE, but less, which is good.)
- Less accidents: kids who sleep less are clumsier and pay attention less to their surroundings
- Sleep promotes learning and brain development! Memory improves with sleep!
I will be keeping the above health benefits in mind as I embark upon changing our habits. Stay tuned for the suggestions that my sleep coach makes for me and how it went!