If you or your children aren’t getting enough shut-eye, learn three ways your family could suffer.
A study appearing the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that irregular bedtimes resulted in lower intelligence for kids between the ages of 3 and 7.
On the other hand, when young children had consistent bedtimes, they tended to perform better on tests which evaluated intelligence.
Another study out of the University of York linked good sleeping habits with better language development in children.
Appearing in Developmental Science, the research clearly showed that good sleep played an important role in allowing very young children to turn new information into long-term memories.
Without adequate sleep, kids’ language skills suffer, resulting in long-term problems that can follow them far down the road.
A recent study showed that inadequate sleep can compromise a teenager’’s school performance. Published in the journal Child Development, the research involved 535 high school kids to see how sleeping habits impacted achievement.
In the end, they noticed a strong correlation between more sleep and better grades.
Research has also demonstrated that poor sleep can harm families by promoting marital strife. Appearing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the study showed that couples who slept less fought more.
It also demonstrated that more sleep tended to promote healthier relationships characterized by mutual respect.
According to sleep expert Dr. Ken Siegel, many of his sleep apnea patients seek treatment at the behest of frustrated partners.
“Obviously, people tend to be more irritated when they get less sleep,” he said. “However, for people who have sleep apnea, the problems run deeper.
Many times, sleep apnea promotes snoring, which can build resentment between couples. With treatment, patients can get relief from all their symptoms, allowing both partners to sleep peacefully through the entire night.”
A Dangerous Problem
By causing problems for people of all ages, insufficient sleep can harm entire families from top to bottom. Sadly, it can also promote health problems that can take loved ones away prematurely.
“A mountain of research has tied inadequate sleep to some terrifying medical problems,” Siegel said. “If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re at a higher risk for developing heart disease, dementia, diabetes and cancer.
Some studies have also found that long-term sleep deprivation has the ability to promote infertility and sexual dysfunction. In the end, if you’re worried about your health or that of your family’s, the best thing you can do is focus on getting more sleep.”
What You Can Do
To promote better sleep, experts recommend that people avoid eating too close to bedtime. They also say we should avoid tablets, eReaders, smartphones and anything else which emits melatonin-suppressing blue light.
It’s also a good idea to go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Additionally, if you suffer from snoring, frequent waking or daytime fatigue, consider getting tested to see if you have a sleep disorder.
- KGED: Why Sleeping May Be More Important Than Studying
- Slate: The Real Reason You and Your Partner Fight So Much
- CBS NEWS: Lack of regular bedtime may affect kids’ learning skills
- License: Creative Commons image source
Ryan Lawrence writes for Off-Topic Media. Thanks to Dr. Ken Siegel for his contributions to this story. His website is www.dentalexcellenceofbluebell.com.