SSM Health: Sleep plays a vital role in physical and mental development

MADISON, Wis. — Throughout the month of March the recipe for health team continues to focus on sleep, how much you need, and why it’s important.

While the time change being hot off the press may mean some kids are still adjusting, SSM Health Pediatrician Dan Beardmore is talking about the role sleep plays in children and teens.

“The obvious stuff is that we know that kids grow when they’re sleeping, especially in our infants,” says Beardmore. “They eat and sleep to grow. We know that memory is formed while sleeping. So that’s the time in which our brain assimilates the things that we’ve learned from short term into long term memory, and so, especially in middle school and high school, we’ve got to get that quality of sleep to form the memories to hold on to what we’ve learned in school. Then, the other really big thing, and this is for that larger range of children, all the way from toddlers and into adolescence, sleep is really important for behavior.”

Beardmore goes on to say that he sees a lot of parents come in with questions about behavior in their children, and the first question he’ll ask is how well the child is sleeping at night. For parents who have children struggling with sleep, Beardmore says a bedtime routine, and putting away the screens at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime is a must. He also says to avoid staying up late or sleeping in on the weekends, as it throws the sleep schedule off.

Our time for kids: recipe for health team is asking what you want to hear about. Let us know what health topics you’re interested in, or share your family’s health story with us, online at ssmhealth.com/timeforkids.