It can be quite a task to put young children to sleep. Bubbling with enthusiasm and energy, they want to spend most of the time exploring the world around them. However, a good night’s sleep is really important for their physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, children under the age of eight must have around 9-10 hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
To make your child understand the need for sufficient sleep and rest, you need to explain why the human body needs sleep. To keep their body well rested and make them play, study and grow in the best possible way, it’s important that children have sufficient sleep.
However, explaining the biology of sleep – the sleep cycles and what the body does when we fall asleep – might be complicated for these young brains. That said, here are some facts that you can read to your child. These snippets of information may help him/her understand the need for better sleep and develop the willingness to adopt a healthy sleeping habit.
There may be some days when you don’t feel like sleeping on time, because you want to play for a bit longer. But you really need to sleep when you have to, because lack of adequate sleep can make you forget your lessons!
Research from one of the top universities – the Harvard University – shows that if you don’t have sufficient sleep for a long period of time, your memory is likely to get affected. So, ensure that you get enough sleep every night!
Sleep experts say that the pose you sleep in (when you are in your deep sleep) can convey some information about your personality. If you sleep on your side with your feet curled up, it means you need to be safe while sleeping. If you sleep on your tummy, you may be a fun loving person.
So how do you sleep? Go ahead and verify if these theories are true.
You may remember having fascinating, scary or even fun dreams on some nights, while on other days,you may remember having had a dreamless sleep.
But, sleep experts say that we have at least three to five dreams every night. Does it surprise you that you have so many dreams?
The experts also suggest that you forget most of your dreams before you even wake up and remember only a fraction of them.
Elephants sleep the least
Now that you learnt some facts about how human beings sleep, let’s explore how animals sleep.
Different animals (including humans) have different sleep requirements. However, can you guess which animal sleeps the least? It’s the elephant. They sleep for just two hours every night and are known to be very light sleepers. Experts believe that, in the wild, when they are always on the lookout for predators, they tend to sleep less and be on guard constantly.
If you have a cat as a pet or if you have observed cats in general, you may have noticed that they are asleep a lot of the time. Be it on the couch, or on the walls, and even stray cats on the streets can be found napping frequently.
That’s why they are regarded as one of the heaviest sleeping animals. In fact, some studies have shown that cats spend two-thirds of their life sleeping! And in a day, they are known to sleep as much as 16 hours. That’s almost the whole day, isn’t it?
Apparently, they sleep to conserve energy to hunt their prey.
Dolphins and other animals like seals and some birds sleep with half their brain rested and half their brain active and their muscles in an alert state. Such a state is essential for their survival. If dolphins sleep deeply, their body and muscles will almost let them drown in water!
Among birds, it’s fun to note that albatrosses can sleep, while flying. With a half-active brain, the albatross rests half its brain to sleep in one-minute cycles to get an overall 12 hours of sleep everyday. Being migratory birds, they fly several thousand miles across months. Besides they also stay on air for years together. It’s necessary for them to learn to sleep while flying.
Wow! Imagine having that ability.
Are there any other interesting sleep tidbits that you have come across? Please share them with us in the comments.
Aparna is a mom, singer and dreamer. At BYJU'S, she writes stories about learning for children. She believes in the power of music, especially ghazal, the magic of the universe and happy learners. When not writing or singing, you will find her intensely engaged in conversations about life and the power of words.
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