Adequate, quality sleep is vital for everyone, especially children. Sleep is so important for a healthy functioning brain and overall physical health. Kids are undergoing rapid change during their youthful years: growing taller, developing their immune systems, building pathways in the brain and absorbing as much information as possible, both socially and academically.
Experts agree that children should be sleeping a minimum of 9 hours a day, with an ideal range being 10-12 hours.
When kids are chronically sleep-deprived, their ability for their brain to coordinate and process information begins to decline.
Signs of Sleep Disruption:
- Difficulty with decision making
- Outbursts and aggression
- Immune system issues
- Low motivation and productivity
- Poor coordination, clumsiness
So why do some kids have sleep struggles?
Active Primitive Reflexes
A Moro reflex activates our stress response with changes in light, sound and head position. A heightened stress response keeps our mind ‘running’ at night and disrupts REM cycles, which is important for emotional regulation, memory and creation of proteins.
Stress comes in many forms; physical, emotional and chemical. Kids experience physical stress through play, emotional stress through relationship-building or bullying, and chemical stress through foods and a gut-microbiome imbalance.
Kids with enlarged tonsils due to an immune system imbalance or those that have tongue-ties, are more likely to experience a partial airway obstruction.
When we are sensitive to certain foods, we produce higher levels of inflammation, which impacts our stress response, mood and behaviors. Common irritants in kids are artificial colors, gluten and dairy.
Excessive screen time, especially at night, disrupts the sleep cycle. Blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin release and interfere with the body’s internal clock.
Quality sleep serves our bodies in so many ways.
Functions of Sleep:
- Memory storage
- Toxin removal
- Tissue healing
- Hormone balance
- Mood regulation
- Weight regulation
- Inflammation reduction
How does chiropractic care lead to better sleep?
Adjustments help the body regulate its stress response more efficiently, allowing the body to relax better at night and sleep more soundly. If your child (or you!) are struggling with sleep issues, please contact our office to set up an appointment today.