Sleep plays a more important role in physical and mental health than most people believe. Scientific studies have linked sleep loss to poor school and work performance, heart disease, diabetes, depression, marital problems, stress and a growing list of other medical issues. Yet, when our to-do list becomes too crowded or we’re up against a deadline, sleep is usually the first thing to go.
Most teens and adults underestimate the amount of sleep they need to stay healthy and believe that they can make up lost sleep by sleeping longer on the weekend, despite scientific proof to the contrary. The negative impact of sleep is cumulative. There is no substitute for getting the amount of daily sleep you need, 8 to 9 hours a day for teens and 7 to 8 hours a day for adults.
Perhaps because of their own erroneous beliefs about sleep, most parents underestimate how much sleep their child needs and how much sleep he is actually getting. Infants need from 14 to 15 hours of sleep each day; toddlers, 12 to 14 hours; preschoolers, 10 to 12 hours; and children in elementary school, 10 to 11 hours.
Beginning sleep training during your child’s toddler years teaches your child good sleep habits and helps him form productive sleep patterns that will last a lifetime. Sleep training your toddler now sets the stage for healthy sleep habits that will benefit him throughout his life.