The short answer is a resounding yes! Sleep, along with good nutrition - and a few other things - are absolutely essential for your child’s growth, for many reasons.Sleep gives your child more energy, and helps with brain development, but it’s also closely tied to physical growth.
One of the reasons we grow is that a gland in our brains known as the pituitary gland, releases a hormone known as the human growth hormone (hGh). It’s released all through the day, but for children, this release spikes dramatically while they are sleeping.
To make sure that your child’s body is producing enough hGh, your child needs to be getting enough sleep for his or her age group. For a two to three year old, that means 12 to 14 hours every day, and for a three to four year old, 11 to 13 hours. A child betwen the age of five and 8 will need between ten and eleven hours sleep a night. If your child is not getting that much sleep or more, then there’s a good chance he or she is not producing enough hGh, and you may notice that your child’s growth is slow or stunted. It also plays havoc with other hormones, including the ones that regulate hunger, and children who don’t get enough sleep are known to binge on carbohydrates, and are more prone to being overweight.
Concentration and motor skills are also affected, which may make your child more accident prone, or less able to perform tasks that are normal for his or her age group.
If your child is cranky or lethargic, then there’s a good chance he or she is not getting enough sleep.
Read more: Winning the war on bedtime battles