Sleep and How it Affects Development from Infancy to Adolescence

Sleep and How it Affects Development from Infancy to Adolescence

Sleep and how it affects development from infancy to adolescence is a topic that fascinates sleep researchers. Good sleep habits positively affect healthy development in children throughout their adolescent years and beyond. Sleep allows time for cognitive maturation. Now more than ever, their brains need unplugged from all digital devices to recharge and develop as they were meant to.

Occupational therapy sessions show a marked difference in engagement and focus between children who have slept well and kids struggling to sleep. AZ+A in conjunction with Zier Institute have created a sleep program that focuses on the sleep-deprivation behaviors of children and adolescents. Sleep environment is an important factor in healthy sleep but our sleep program dives further into mindfulness exploration, sensory strategies, and emotion work.

CNN Health recently posted THIS article that discusses how sleep problems in infants and early childhood, according to new JAMA Psychiatry research, can be linked to the development of certain mental health disorders in adolescence. Consistently experiencing irregular sleep patterns, frequent waking throughout the night, and childhood nightmares can be seen as early markers of future developmental delays.

Additional research indicates that compromised sleep is reflective of the body and mind internalizing and externalizing problems experienced during childhood and adolescence. Sleep disorders experienced in childhood are shown to predict an assortment of emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, risk-taking, and aggression.

“The biggest takeaway for parents is that sleep is part of self-regulation. We need to wake our brains up, and settle them back down. We need to handle fears and separation from our loved ones,” she said. “For this reason, sleep is usually much harder for children with self-regulation problems in early childhood — whether due to anxiety, early ADHD, sensory integration challenges, trauma or other developmental differences that may not rise to the level of a diagnostic label.”

Exciting research between sleep and developmental psychopathology continues to identify associations between behavior and early sleep habits. As this research progresses, one thing everyone can agree on is that healthy sleep habits are essential for the growing minds and bodies of children.