The Brain Differences of Sleeping and Not Sleeping in Babies: Parents Need to Take Special Notice

Many still believe that it is only important for children to sleep at night, and whether they take a nap during the day or not is not important.


Napping Makes a Difference

There has been much debate surrounding the issue of children taking naps. For children, sleep is even more important than for adults as it is a crucial time for growth. Experts recommend getting 7-8 hours of sleep per day for adults, and 10-12 hours per day for children, with infants needing even more. When it comes to daytime rest, what we actually mean is the concept of taking a nap.

Many energetic and active children resist taking a nap. Consciousness refers to all mental processes related to information processing and response. Functional modules such as attention, memory, language, and computation… Each functional module requires us to use brain resources to support it in completing tasks, and each person will differ in their ability to absorb and process information.

Young children have flexible brains, meaning that when exposed to new things, their brains will create new connections and change the initial structure. The brains of children are still developing and even the initial structure is being updated. In other words, flexibility represents the upper limit of a certain level of intelligence.

These two studies have revealed the relationship between cognition and daily behavior, including napping, for children aged 5-13. The results show that within the same age group, those who nap less or not at all have weaker self-control skills 3 years later. At the same time, the test results also confirm that those who nap less or do not nap within the same age group show relative deficits in the prefrontal cortex – the area responsible for executive control.

Why is Napping Important?

Although the exact reasons have not been determined, many scientists speculate that it may be related to reducing accumulated stress throughout the day and helping to regulate efficient acceleration abilities. Napping optimizes the entire nervous system and enhances brain flexibility.

Sleep is related to brain function and intelligence. To be intelligent, children need to get enough sleep combined with proper study and work, interspersed with rest, for example, focusing for 1-2 hours and then taking a 10-minute break, which can improve concentration, creativity, and the ability to process complex problems in your field.

Since ancient times, people have always said that sleep is important, so there is a folk saying that “eating sleep, darlings” and “not being able to sleep is extremely dangerous.” Therefore, whether in a family environment or a school environment, parents and teachers have guided children to develop this good habit. Napping can effectively help reduce physical and mental stress, restore energy, and promote future IQ improvement for children.

Some Notes for Cultivating the Habit of Napping for Children

– Establishing a routine for your child: You can establish a routine by reading a book to your child and making them aware that it is nap time. Repeated habits will make it easier for children to fall asleep.

– Establishing a scientific nap time: You should repeatedly establish a nap time for your child. If parents want their child to sleep later on weekends, they should only change the schedule by 1 hour. Maintaining consistent timing helps children develop the habit.

– Creating a sleep-friendly environment: You should allow your child to dress comfortably and keep the bed tidy with appropriate blankets. You should also keep the room lightly lit, close the curtains, turn off the TV and electronic devices to help the child sleep better. Some studies have shown that spending only 30 minutes on screens before bedtime can cause a child to stay awake for an additional 2 hours.

Frequently asked questions

Children require significantly more sleep than adults. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for adults, while children need 10-12 hours. Infants, in particular, need even more sleep to support their rapid growth and development.

Each child has a unique ability to absorb and process information, and napping is related to consciousness and various mental processes. Active and energetic children may resist naps as their brains are flexible and constantly creating new connections, making it challenging for them to settle down.

Studies have shown that adequate napping is linked to improved self-control skills and enhanced executive function. Children who nap appropriately for their age group demonstrate better prefrontal cortex function, which is responsible for decision-making and impulse control.

Sleep plays a vital role in brain development and cognitive function. Children need a combination of sufficient sleep, proper study, and work interspersed with rest. Focusing for 1-2 hours followed by a short break can improve concentration, creativity, and the ability to tackle complex problems.

Establish a consistent routine by reading a book before nap time. Maintain a scientific nap schedule, allowing for only a 1-hour change on weekends. Create a sleep-friendly environment with comfortable clothing, a tidy bed, and minimal lighting. Limit screen time before bed, as it can negatively impact sleep patterns.
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