The Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) is advocating for a healthy sleep culture for children’s physical and mental growth and development. According to the NSP, quality sleep helps repair and restore body cells, tissues, and organs. In addition, it improves cognitive skills development, memory, alertness and general performance necessary for academic excellence.
The Coordinator, NSP Paediatric Specialist Group, Dr Ituen Oluwakemi, made this assertion saying children between the ages of 4-12 months should observe 12-16 hours of sleep; while 1-2 years, 11-14 hours; 3-5 years, 10-13 hours; 6-12 years, 9-12 hours; and those between 13-18 years, 8-10 hours.
According to the Doctor, quality sleep allows the pituitary gland in the brain to produce different specialized hormones, including the growth hormone, which influences a child’s height. This growth hormone is responsible for increasing the size and repairing tissues, muscles, and bones. This process is significant during puberty because it facilitates rapid growth spurts, as there have been cases of growth retardation in children with poor quality sleep over a long period.
In addition, Dr Oluwakemi advised parents to provide the right sleep solution to ensure quality sleep. Quality sleep is not just a function of duration, but also the sleep needs to be uninterrupted. “When asleep at night, the child should wake up not more than once to have a night of quality sleep, as the reverse has negative consequences like obesity, behavioural disorders, attention deficit, and restlessness, among many others. It is worthy of note that quality sleep enhances a child’s brain capacity to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend and solve complex problems, learn quickly, and remember past experiences, as well as in the area of language development.
The milestone a child misses during childhood may affect their adolescent and adult life, hence the need for the right sleep mattress from infanthood. The NSP recommends Mouka’s mattresses which are specially designed for children. The Dreamtime mattress is water-resistant yet breathable and made with the proper foam density for younger children. On the other hand, the Comfy mattress is covered with a polycotton fabric and is made with a low-density foam to keep older children comfortable through the night”. She affirmed.