Sleep. You can’t live without it, but do you value it highly enough? Every parent knows that a good night’s sleep can be “just what the doctor ordered” to change our children’s tempers and behaviors for the better. But, and this is a BIG *but*…have you ever stopped to think about how impactful sleep truly is to your overall health and well-being across the lifespan? What about a growing child’s health and development?
Everyone goes to sleep. The key, though, is getting QUALITY sleep. And it’s more than just staying asleep long enough. The sleep needs that we do get needs to be deep enough to fully recharge your body. Sleep and recharging our internal human battery is just like refueling a car or plugging in an electric one. In a car when you run out of fuel or battery power, you can’t go any further. Unfortunately, with the human body, many of us are running on empty or fumes and this is where our health starts to take a hit.
Sleep is essential for every single function in the body. How well we sleep directly impacts our physical and mental functioning, our body’s immune system, our ability to fight diseases, and even our metabolism. The average adult needs roughly 7 hours of sleep while children and teens need more.
Did you know that behaviors diagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may actually be caused by poor quality sleep?
Other signs that you – or your child – may NOT be getting QUALITY sleep may include (note: this list is not exhaustive):
- waking unrefreshed
- daytime sleepiness
- difficulty focusing
- decreased reaction/processing time
- Presence of snoring or any form of audible breathing during sleep
- grinding teeth during sleep
- cognitive difficulties or changes
- mental health issues
- behavior challenges
- bedwetting beyond daytime potty training
Whether you are an adult or a child who needs to function in their daily life, the ability to focus on the task at hand is essential to success. Poor quality sleep, whatever the cause, has a major impact on focus and attention to task during the day. Cognition and test scores even improve when children are getting enough quality sleep.
Do you have questions or concerns about your/your child’s quality of sleep?
I highly recommend seeking out an airway-focused orofacial myofunctional therapist (e.g., SLP, OT, PT, RDH, DDS trained properly in this specialty area). Orofacial myofunctional therapy (“myo”) has been shown to positively impact sleep. Above and beyond myo, a sleep study may be recommended by your health professional to rule out the possibility of sleep disordered breathing. There are options these days (e.g., I had an in-home sleep test before my nasal surgery but others have gone to a sleep clinic overnight). Your health is too valuable to leave this undiagnosed.
What step will you take today to better your sleep if it is something you/r child struggles with?
PS – many of you have asked who we recommend. Hundreds of clinicians have taken The Myo Method course and some are getting certified as a myofunctional therapist (CMT®). The Myo Directory is almost ready so be sure to check back soon!