The rules of good sleep for children

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How Much Should Babies Sleep? What are the consequences of insufficient sleep? How can we help the little ones understand the importance of sleep? We asked the doctor Maria Costanza Cipullo, psychologist and lecturer at the Ministry of Education as referent for health and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. 

Doctor Cipullo is the author of the book Sei Gufo o Lark? - Guide to good sleep for aware children and adults (AG Book Publishing), with illustrations by Giuseppe Fedeli and a preface by Dr. Pierluigi Innocenti, neurologist.

This book is meant to foster one greater knowledge of sleep and its functions and to promote adequate lifestyles with a view to prevention. Dedicated to children, but also addressed to parents and teachers, it illustrates how and for how long some animals sleep. In the last pages there are drawings and a short questionnaire that will allow each child to discover, based on their habits, which animal they resemble the most.

In this article

  • Why is it important for babies to sleep well?
  • How many hours should children up to 12 sleep and how?
  • Disorders that can arise in children due to poor sleep
  • Tips to help babies sleep well
  • "Are you owl or lark?", The book

Why is it important for babies to sleep well?

"The importance of good sleep from birth it is a fundamental element for our health and for our well-being, developed societies are giving less and less importance to sleep, reducing the hours devoted to sleep by about 50 hours over the last 2 years.

The reduction in sleep has affected not only the adult population but also the younger generations, with important consequences for their health. In children and adolescents the reduction of hours devoted to sleep determines a reduction in growth hormone production (GH), an essential hormone for their physical and mental development ", explains Dr. Cipullo. 

Read also: Babies and rest: 8 things to know about the importance of sleep for your children

How many hours should children up to 12 sleep and how?

"Children up to 12 need to sleep between 10 and 11/12 hours approximately per night. Of course these may vary slightly from person to person. The younger the children, the more they need to sleep. But in addition to the quantity it is important to consider the quality of sleep which must concern some rules such as:

  1. Have dinner at least an hour and a half before going to sleep. Going to sleep with a full stomach does not help with digestion or sleep.
  2. Don't drink exciting drinks (e.g. coca-cola, chocolate or tea) before going to sleep, but take chamomile or relaxing herbal teas with the addition of honey preferably acacia.
  3. Turn off tablets and mobile phones before going to sleep: blue light interferes with sleep.

These are just some of the rules to be respected to sleep well. Others are listed in the book, "specifies the author of the book.

Read also: Night panic in children: what pavor nocturnus is and how it manifests itself

What are the problems that can arise in children due to poor sleep?

According to Dr. Cipullo, lack of sleep increases the chance of developing

  • diabetes,
  • hypertension,
  • chronic inflammation 
  • cardiovascular pathologies even in young people.

"Suffice it to say that between the causes of explosion of obesity worldwide, sleep deprivation is considered a key element. It is later shown that sleep deprivation reduces academic performance with attention, concentration and memory deficits, it is frequently responsible for behavior disorders with so much agitation and restlessness that many of these children are labeled as socially difficult.

Despite the important consequences on health, many children instead of sleeping and satisfying their sleep needs, spend their evenings in front of digital devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, play stations) which not only activate the mind and therefore do not favor the 'falling asleep, but they emit a blue wave light which inhibits the secretion of melatonin, essential hormone for sleep ".

Read also: How many hours of sleep you need to sleep from 0 to 100 years

Tips to help babies sleep well

"To help children sleep well, in addition to what is indicated above, we recommend:

  1. Have the reading heard of a fairy tale or relaxing music before falling asleep.
  2. Get the children to go to bed on time making them stable.
  3. Do not abruptly interrupt sleep of child".
Read also: Children's sleep: live with the experts

"Are you owl or lark?", The book

"The idea of ​​the book Sei owl or lark ?, illustrated by Giuseppe Fedeli, was born from the meeting with Dr. Innocenti, founder of Assirem (Association of the Paesena for Research and Education in Sleep Medicine) who deals with years of sleep issues and the importance of good sleep for the health and well-being of young and old.

The title of the book was chosen precisely because the owl and the lark are commonly associated with the rhythms of sleep: nocturnal animal the owl, morning the lark. This book comes from the awareness that, if you start from childhood, a lot can be done to teach children what good habits are to learn and practice even as adults.

Through animals, which children love, and to whom the book is dedicated, we wanted to emphasize that sleep is an essential element, to be cared for and respected, which not only characterizes human beings, but which belongs in different ways. also to other living species. Addressed to the little ones, but also dedicated to parents and teachers, this guide to good sleep is intended to be a preventative tool for health ailments and, at the same time, promoting healthy lifestyles from childhood ".

Also read: Pre-teens happier if they take an afternoon nap

  • children's sleep
  • sleep
  • hours sleep
  • lack of sleep
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