Sleep is essential for both kids and adults to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep can help boost your child’s immune system, which is especially important given the current situation with COVID-19. In line with this, the pandemic may have disrupted our children’s sleep patterns since they’ve spent most part of the year at home with activities limited only within the confines of their bedrooms where they’re prone to sleep in as long as their new schedules allow or stay up late.
With everything going on around the world during the pandemic, children may also feel too anxious or stressed from what they see on the news or social media to sleep. Emotional factors such as these could cause sleep deprivation among kids and teens.
Lack of sleep may only weaken your child’s body and make it even more susceptible to illnesses. That is why they must get enough sleep to give their bodies time to heal and produce immune-boosting cells to protect them from catching any diseases.
To help you make sure your little one is getting the right amount of sleep for a stronger and healthier immune system, here’s all that you need to know.
Sleep As Immune System Booster
When we are sick or unwell, you may find that you get tired easily. This is actually your body telling you to take a break and sleep. It won’t fully heal you from being sick, but it can improve your immune system to be stronger and give you better protection.
Studies have found that sleep directly impacts our immune systems which helps our bodies ward off any infections. You don’t only get much-needed rest, but you can also help make yourself healthier. Not getting enough sleep will only hinder your immune system from doing its job since your entire body would be too tired or stressed.
Researchers have also found that sleeping can help increase the response time of your immune system. Cycling through all four stages of sleep lets your body produce an important protein called cytokine, which is essential for immune systems to respond to harmful pathogens. Sleep also improves our T Cell production, which plays a vital role in helping the immune system destroy harmful cells in our bodies.
Having a sustaining and healthy lifestyle is important, especially during a time with such a deadly virus. A data analyst from the Cleveland Clinic, Feixiong Cheng, found just how much sleeping could protect oneself from COVID-19. The sleep hormone melatonin specifically was found to play a big part in calibrating our immune systems and blocking out infection. Their research states that people who received melatonin had more increased chances of survival and are less likely to develop the virus.
So to have a healthy and strong immune system, make sure you and your entire family get to have a proper good night’s sleep.
How To Help Your Family Get Enough Rest
While sleep doesn’t guarantee your child will be completely immune to sickness, it is still important for both their physical and mental health. If you think you or your child are not getting enough melatonin time, here are ways to ensure your entire family have a healthy sleep routine.
1. Stick to a regular sleeping schedule
Having a schedule of when you go to bed and wake up the around the same time each day, whether during weekdays or weekends, can help your body get used to healthy sleep patterns.
Kids of different ages require various hours of sleep. According to experts, the recommended amount of sleep among children are:
- 1-4 Weeks Old: 15 – 16 hours a day
- 1-4 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours a day
- 4-12 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours a day
- 1-3 Years Old: 12 – 14 hours a day
- 3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours a day
- 7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours a day
- 12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours a day
2. Keep a consistent bedtime routine
Doing nightly activities for at least 30 minutes will help you get a good night’s rest. Besides doing your routine of taking a shower and brushing your teeth, you and your child can do calming things like reading a bedtime story together.
3. Do outdoor activities when you can
Getting some sunlight and spending time outside can help our body clocks tell what time of day it is and when you should be awake and asleep. So as much as you can, do some outdoor activities and games with your family.
4. Limit screentime
With the regular use of gadgets nowadays, both kids and adults are exposed to a lot of screentime usage. It may be time to limit you and your child’s usage for the close-up light exposure of smartphones and tablets could hinder sleeping.
5. As much as possible, avoid naps
While it’s unavoidable to feel sleepy during the day, especially in the afternoon, it may better avoid naps and limit sleeping for bedtime. Although naps are still acceptable as long as they last only up to 20-30 minutes.
6. Be a good “sleeping” role model
Kids tend to mimic what their parents do; this may include the time you sleep within a day. So all these sleeping tips are not only meant for kids but you as well, so make sure you stick to a healthy sleep routine as a good role model. If kids see their parents sleeping early, this can encourage them to do the same.
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