How does sleep impact my child’s health?
Sleep plays an important role in maintaining physical health throughout the lifespan. When your little one is sleeping, her body works to stay as healthy as possible and releases hormones she needs to grow and develop. Her immune system (the body system that helps to prevent and fights against getting sick from things like colds or infections) also relies on sleep to stay healthy; studies show that too little sleep can cause trouble fighting infections. In addition, research indicates that ongoing sleep loss is associated with increased risk of obesity in childhood. One study of teenagers found that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of being obese went up. Finally, as children get older, continued sleep loss places them at risk for other health conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Lack of sleep can also lead to increases in risky behavior and injury.
About Dr. Ariel Williamson