Sleep protects our children’s immune systems.
With Daylight Savings behind us and winter right around the corner, that also means cold and flu season is fast approaching. As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children as healthy and safe as possible. A preventative and proactive measure we parents can take is to teach healthy sleep habits – a necessity for maintaining the health of our child’s immune system.
Here’s why and how:
Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm dictated by the earth’s rotation and the sun’s rising and setting. When babies and children are sleeping within these natural biological rhythms, they get optimum, quality sleep. Sleep cycles are whole, healthy, and most importantly, they get what’s called slow-wave sleep. This component of a sleep cycle helps clear waste, toxins, and stress that build upon the brain each day. It impacts gut health and has incredible protective and restorative benefits to the immune system and mental health. But if our little ones cannot obey these hormonal cues telling them it’s time for sleep because nap and bed timing is off, or sleep crutches are involved, the result is sleep fragmentation, preventing slow-wave sleep from taking place. My 4 Pillars of Sleep Hygiene® correct and improve this fast!
A robust immune system is dependent upon good quality sleep + gut health.
Another essential key to a healthy immune system is our microbiome, the healthy bacteria living in our bodies, which is also affected by our circadian rhythms. If our babies sleep poorly, the essential bacteria in their gut and colon have trouble digesting the fiber and other vitamins and nutrients from their formula, breastmilk, and food. These same gut microbes also help manufacture serotonin, which is a building block to melatonin production. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that our child’s immune system depends upon.
Avoid Fragmenting Sleep.
One way to improve your baby’s sleep is to promote consolidated sleep with as few wakings and fragmentation as possible throughout the night (once the child is old enough to survive, thrive, and sustain life until morning without additional meals throughout the night. This sleep training process may begin as early as between four and six months, depending on your child’s health and development, as well as your pediatrician’s recommendations.
Napping well during the day and going to bed early at night can help with this. The timing of sleep impacts how healthy the sleep cycles will be. Poor sleep-timing results in incomplete sleep cycles and fragmentation, no matter how many hours of sleep your child gets.
Lastly, it is always important to consider your child’s chemical exposure. While we can’t control it completely, we can significantly impact one area that counts: the mattress they sleep on. Ensure their mattress is free of dangerous chemicals known to cause significant health problems, such as fire retardants, phthalates, and formaldehyde. A waterproof mattress with a removable machine washable cover helps prevent unhealthy bacteria growth. A mattress can be a breeding ground for all kinds of things with the accumulation of spit-up, vomit, sweat, and leaky diapers! The weblink here is what you need to follow to get the right kind of mattress for yourself.
Parents, please don’t ignore your child’s poor sleep habits or yours!
Visit the link below to schedule a no-cost discovery call with me to learn how my 4 Pillars of Sleep Hygiene® and sleep training program can help quickly and easily restore healthy restorative sleep to your child …and the entire family.