Why Sleep Is Your Kid's Best Friend — And How To Help Them Get More Of It
After chasing our kids around from dawn to dusk, bedtime is any parent's favorite time of day. Not just because of snuggles and bedtime stories but because once they hit the pillow—we finally get to take a breather. It's also a fact that our kids look the cutest when they're sleeping and sweet-dreaming… But what's going on behind all that shut-eye?
Sleep: the most important part of their wellness routine.
Putting our kids to bed may be good to us (cue the Netflix and ice cream), but it's better for them. When it comes to their physical and mental well-being, sleep is No. 1—yet a quarter of parents1 with kids under 5 report their little ones are struggling with sleep. Dialing in the bedtime routine, investing in the cozy sleep essentials like those from Brentwood Home, and properly wearing them out—the hard work is worth it for the sake of their zzz's! And science explains why.
They really do grow when they sleep.
It's not just in your head: Your kiddo really does get bigger overnight. Studies2 have connected sleep duration and physical growth starting in infancy, through toddlerhood, and beyond. Once our kiddo starts sawing logs (and gets into "slow wave" sleep), the secretion of growth hormone increases. And these hormones are directly connected to body length2. Sleep keeps their bodies growing but also benefits motor skill learning3 (think learning to pick up Cheerios). It even plays a role in overseeing inflammation4, meaning their sleep is connected to immunity too.
Bittersweet as it is, our job is to support our child's growth in every way—and thus, their sleep. At the most basic level, this means providing a cozy mattress that helps them fall (and stay) asleep. The Juniper Kids Mattress by Brentwood Home is made with a naturally cooling gel memory foam layer and up to 20% plant-based BioFoam®. Your little one will love this mattress, but so will you. It's made with healthy materials like GOTS-certified organic cotton and is free of chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, phthalates, and latex, so you can rest assured (literally) that they're sleeping on the best. And until they're ready for that kid's mattress—the EcoAir Waterproof Baby Crib Mattress is just as safe, comfy, and sustainable.
Sleep is good for their brain.
Sleep is necessary to support any growing body. But it's also critical for the well-being of our children's mind and mood—starting at infancy. Infants already spend the majority of their time asleep—wherein the brain is busy developing, making neural connections, and cultivating sensory memories. But studies have shown that babies diagnosed with autism were more likely to have prior sleep difficulties, which may have created altered growth in the hippocampus.
As our little ones enter early childhood, sleep remains just as important. Quality sleep is proven to optimize attention5 and support cognitive performance6. Studies7 have shown that children who do not get the recommended amount of sleep have differences in areas of the brain connected to well-being, intelligence, and memory. Further, sleep is simply associated with a good mood8… And don't we know it! Bottom line: Sleep is just as important for their mind as it is for their body.
Sleep is our kiddo's BFF. How do we help them get more of it?
Hard as we may try, sometimes our kids simply resist sleep. So what do we do when it's past bedtime and our little one has no interest in their pillow? Or insists on getting out of bed 12 times? For starters, make sure their bedroom feels like a sleep sanctuary, much like your own. Make their bed feel extra cozy. Pile pillows onto the Juniper Kids Mattress—like the all-natural and hypoallergenic Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow by Brentwood Home. Add stuffed animals and blankets that make them feel safe.
Even more important: routine. There's a library of resources for your kiddo's sleep hygiene, and most, if not all, are built on the importance of routine. Studies9 have repeatedly proven the benefits of a sleep routine on children's well-being and willingness to sleep. Routines come in all shapes and sizes, and these tips will get you started. And if your kid has no issue going to bed but won't stay in bed, this game plan will help you win the bedtime battle. Bedtime is already your favorite time of day… With these tips, it'll stay that way!