Should kids sleeping habit be tracked?
Activity tracking is the latest big thing. Lots’ of adults are spending reasonable amount of money on buying activity tracker, either to track their calorie consumption, exercise as well as sleeping habit.
Parents are also encouraging their kids to get into fitness, either by getting them cheap fitness tracking device, or encouraging them to participate in their daily or weekly exercise rituals.
To encourage kids fitness, UNICEF introduced a slight modification of Fitbit for kids some months ago.
The device is designed in such a way that, when kids complete a fitness goal (by being active and taking more steps), they get to donate to poor community across the globe. The donation doesn’t come from their pocket, but through their exercise effort.
There is no doubt that fitness should be encouraged amidst youngster, the data from the national health institute projects that lots of young folks are weighing more than the average in other part of the world, this is a sign of looming obesity at the national level.
Considering the fact that lots of diseases comes with being obese, parent shouldn’t take the issue of kids fitness program with levity hand.
But when does the fitness effort becomes too much?
When does these whole thing result into negative impact rather than helping kids to become healthier?
Many parent argues that there is no point in being worked up about kids’ calorie consumption, I also agree with this, unless they are not eating enough.
Kids should be allowed to eat as much as they want (healthy food of course), and should equally be encouraged to exercise in other to stay healthy.
However, the focus of this article is on sleep tracking for kids.
Is it ideal to track kids sleeping habit?
If yes, what are the benefits?
Is there any downside to tracking kids sleeping habit?
There are times when as an adult, I don’t get to sleep until several hours of being in bed. I usually end up getting less than the recommended 6-8hours of night rest, mainly because I use my phone in bed. This by the way is a terrible habit as it has been proven that exposure to blue light impacts sleeping pattern negatively.
Kids needs about ten to eleven hours of sleep per day. According to national sleep foundation, about 40% of kids are guilty of sleep walking at least once between the age of 2 to 4. When the occurrence starts repeating itself beyond normal, then there is a reason to be concerned. Kids sleeping habit may also be affected by nightmares; and such situation should not be taken lightly.
The benefit of a good night rest cannot be overemphasized. Some of which includes:
Growth: It’s no news that growth hormones are mainly secreted while sleeping. When kids fail to get the recommended amount of sleep, the secretion of this hormone is negatively impacted and as such the growth is affected negatively.
Intelligence: In both kids and adult, sleep has been associated with how smart our brain works. It’s been shown that people who get enough sleep as recommended tend to recall better than those with poor sleeping habit.
Some neurochemicals in the brain are only secreted while the body is in sleeping phase. Learning is completed during sleeping phase.
Weight: The hormone called Leptin is responsible to sending signals to our brain when we have eaten enough food needed by our body. Not getting the required amount of sleep may impact the secretion of this hormone negatively. And when that happens, the chances of overfeeding becomes very high, resulting into unwanted weight gain.
The benefit of getting quality sleep goes way beyond what has been listed about, and you can read further about it here.
With the benefits listed above, it is very obvious the sleep is an important aspect of our daily live that should not be neglected. And as such, parent should take special interest in monitoring their kids sleeping pattern.
So that question of whether it is ideal or not is off the table, because there is nothing wrong in going extra mile to ensure that kids get enough rest all night.
Does this mean everybody should be concerned about monitoring their kids sleeping habit? Up to the extent of getting a sleep tracking device?
Frankly, I wouldn’t bother unless there is a need to, which in most cases is needed in children with special conditions. It’s been proven that kids with autism have problem falling asleep and they usually wake up at interval between sleeping phases. Children with down syndrome also suffers from sleep apnea (loss of breath while sleeping). This condition calls for special attention to the kids sleeping pattern so that help may be given at the appropriate time.
Snoring is another sign of poor sleeping pattern, kids who snore more than thrice per week have been shown to have difficulties in stay focused and learning new things as compared to kids who don’t snore as often.
A sleep tracking device should be used when other measures has failed and there is a need to acquire accurate data as regards sleeping habit. Besides, a study showed that wearable device are not very accurate when it comes to measuring kids sleeping habit, this is attributed to the fact that, kids tends to change phases a lot during sleeping period. It showed that about such devices tend to underestimate sleeping period with as much as an hour inaccuracy.
Other measure of ensuring quality sleeping habit for kids is by restricting their access to cell phones, and television after dinner.
For young ones, you might want to take your time in educating them about the importance of good sleeping habits, and how it would help them to become smarter and healthier.