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Why Kids Need Sleep

Kids and Sleep

Scientific research shows why kids need sleep. photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

As long as there have been parents, there have been bedtimes.  It has long been an accepted idea that children need more sleep than we do but few of us think to question if this is a true truth or just one of those things that gets handed down as if it is true.  When children ask why they need to go to bed, we offer up a variety of answers that range from “so you don’t get sick” to “because I told you so.”  Fortunately, research into the science of sleep has shed new light on how much sleep we need and what happens when we don’t get enough.

Sleep is as essential to life as air and clean water and its importance to our health cannot be overstated.  This is true if you are 8 or 80.  But for children, developing good sleep habits and understanding the importance of sleep early on is critical to having good sleep hygiene as an adult.  So the next time your child or teen asks you why they need to go to sleep or explains that they aren’t tired, give them a lesson on the science of sleep.


1.     Sleep Does a Body Good

One thing researchers have learned is that sleep gives our body a break.  Just like the battery on their gameboy or iPod, our bodies work hard all day and then need time to recharge in order to be able to keep playing.


2.     Sleep Keeps Our Brains Clean

While that may sound strange, science has shown that it is actually true.  When we sleep, our brains are sorting, filing, storing, and putting all the information, memories, and experiences we have accumulated during the day into their proper place.


3.     Sleep Helps Us Keep Our Cool

Sleep also helps us regulate our emotions.  When we don’t get the sleep we need, everything feels harder, every emotion we feel is stronger, and nothing seems to go our way.  No one wants to hang out with someone who is cranky, irritable, and moody.


4.     Sleep Keeps Us from Getting Sick

Recent research into the role sleep plays in our lives indicates that there is a strong link between how we sleep and our health.   When we don’t get enough sleep, it makes it harder for our immune system to fight things off and we are more likely to end up sick in bed.


5.     Sleep Helps Us Make Friends

It may seem strange to your child that time spent alone and unconscious can actually help them make new friends, keep current friends, and even become more popular, but it’s true.  By helping regulate our emotions, sleep makes it easier to interact with other people and helps nurture and preserve interpersonal relationships.  Getting a good night sleep won’t make you cool, but it could help you stay cool when tempers get hot.


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"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA