Have you ever heard of sleep debt?
I know that despair only hits the word debt, even more when I hear it in a column directed to motherhood! Even more adding with sleep, something that, at the moment, is a challenge for most! However, it is important to say that when we don’t get enough sleep that our organism needs we are indebted to it.
Today, research in sleep medicine is well advanced and we know that sleep quality counts much more than quantity, that is, in some moments a 30-minute nap with a good sleep can be much more reparative to the baby than 2 hours poor quality nap. It is a fact, but still, sleeping less than 6 hours a night is not at all healthy, as there are important events that happen only in sleep, such as restoring hormones and consolidating memory and learning.
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The bill is simple, if you have to sleep 7 hours a night and slept 5 hours, you are already in debt for 2 hours !!! Scary, right? Especially since this debt ends up having a direct effect on our bodies throughout the day. Tiredness, irritation, discouragement … Everything is accumulating! Imagine, then, a child, with so many new experiences to spend on a daily basis, carrying this debt?
But after all, is there a way to pay it off?
There are no concrete answers, however, what is known is that if it is to be paid off, it must be after the night that there was sleep deprivation. That is, it is clear that it is common for bad nights to exist, but this means that we need to keep an eye on the small details that can influence this debt.
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When we talk about babies and children the damage is even greater, because the need for sleep is even greater! Simple processes like sleep hygiene, zero access to screens 1 hour before bed and a routine consistent with a bedtime before 9 pm are already the beginning of a good entry for a quality night’s sleep!
It is not easy to change habits, but if there was one thing that did not fall out of favor with modernity, it was sleep. It remains extremely important for our physical and mental health!
Written by Psychologist Amanda Pascoal