Sleep health seems like a seasonal topic that rears its head around Daylight Saving Time transitions, but there are some aspects that don’t get enough conversation. We’ve probably all heard that the best way to raise a healthy child is to lead a healthy lifestyle ourselves. While it’s not a 100% foolproof method, it’s a pretty good bet that your healthy behaviors will rub off onto your child over time. Now, we know we focus a lot on nutrition and combatting obesity at Bakersfield Pediatrics, but that’s not the only type of “health” we need to maintain. Our bodies need more than food and exercise. In fact, our bodies need something that we spend roughly 1/3 of our lives doing!
Yes, sleep is crucial. Sometimes children may not think so, but ask them what they think the world record is for “staying up,” and they might be surprised to find out that it’s only 11 days. It’s just a fact: we’ve got to have our sleep. While a lot us might already be strict on bedtime, we have to remember that a lot of our desire to care for our children comes from how we perceive their health.
We hear a suspicious sneeze? We start looking for signs of a cold.
We see a new mark on their arm? We start looking for signs of a rash.
But what causes us to have concern for their sleeping habits? It turns out that it’s not as simple as, “I believe my child is staying up a little too late,” or, “I believe my child is tossing and turning at night too much.” What really leads us to perceive our children’s sleeping habits as unhealthy is…
Our OWN Sleeping Habits
A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides evidence that parents are more likely to perceive their children’s sleeping habits as unhealthy when they themselves have unhealthy sleeping habits! 100 children between the ages of 2 and 6 were monitored by both wearable activity monitors and their own parents’ assessments daily. The parents also kept sleep diaries for themselves. The parents who reported more sleep disturbances themselves also ended up reporting that their children had sleep disturbances. However, the activity monitors revealed that those children were fine! Nobody likes to be a worry wort, but it appears that we’re doing it to ourselves if we don’t keep ourselves healthy.
So remember: a healthy lifestyle for ourselves will not only help our children develop one, but will also help us truly see that development in our children.