About 60 to 80 percent of children with eczema suffers from sleep disturbance, resulting in about 2.5 hours less of sleep per night. As you know, as a parent of eczema child, our sleep is affected too! (and usually we get cranky, tired, irritable when sleep is disturbed for consecutive days, usually days when there is an eczema flare, resulting in more itch and more scratching)
I have often wondered if my baby has enough sleep and how does a lack of sleep affect her?
Number of Hours of Sleep for Your Child
There is no standard must-sleep-how-many-hours and if your child is putting on healthy weight gain and alert and happy during the day, you should not be unduly worried. My baby girl Marcie has always slept 10 hours per day, no matter what different routine we adopt to increase her sleep. The rough guide for a new born is 16 hours per day, 3-6 month old is 13 to 15 hours/day, 6-12 month old is 12 to 14 hours/day and 1-year old onwards is 10 hours/day.
How a Lack of Sleep affect Your Child
Sleep is important and a lack of sleep results in:
- Low weight gain, due to less growth hormones (lack of sleep may also lead to obesity and diabetes due to imbalance of hormone that regulate hunger and metabolism of sugar)
- Slower healing of the skin and aggravate eczema, lower the immune system (haven’t we fall sick before when burning the midnight oil?)
- Behavioral disturbances such as irritable, impatient, fussy, moody, hyperactive and impulsive
- Difficulty in concentrating, poorer memory (as long-term memory improves with adequate sleep)
- Accident-prone (think overnight drivers who suffer from lack of sleep)
- Tired (If possible, send your child to school later when sleep is badly disturbed by eczema flare)
All is not lost though, since (keeping my fingers crossed) eczema child is brighter (see this post) and the better the eczema is managed, the better the sleep will be. Read my 5 tips to help your child sleep better (I co-sleep with my baby and I think I will as long as she wants to and still scratches at night…)