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📚Why Physical Activity Is Important for a Good Night’s Sleep

You prefer light’s out by 8:30 p.m., but your children wage a protest — and it isn’t of the silent vigil variety. How can you get your little ones to embrace a reasonable bedtime and the benefits associated with sleep?

Why don’t you get their little bodies moving? Nearly every mom recalls a time when their children conked out like lights in the backseat after a day at the beach or playground. Physical activity is vital to a good night’s sleep, and here’s why.

1. It Regulates the Flow of Endorphins

You may know that aerobic exercise prompts your body to release endorphins, natural chemicals that give you energy. A vigorous workout also remedies sleep issues more quickly than pills without the addictive aspect or the long-term dedication many holistic therapies need to work effectively.

Research indicates that 30 minutes of moderate activity can help you sleep more soundly the same night. You don’t want to unnecessarily put your child on medication when fresh air and movement do the trick.

2. It Reinforces Safety Rules and Protects Health

Active play can reinforce essential safety rules for a COVID-19 world. Experts recommend that children stay six feet away from others who are not in their family, and physical movement helps children reap the developmental benefits of interaction without violating social distancing rules.

Instead of playing tag that involves touching, get little legs running and chasing by giving them laser pointers to capture their opponent and send them to jail. Other games, like red light/green light, get children off the couch without squeezing them into tight quarters.

3. It Eases Anxiety

Children can develop severe anxiety due to current events, and the stress can keep them tossing and turning at night. Unfortunately, if you’re facing financial hardship due to a lost job or salary reduction, you could unwittingly pass on your emotions to your kiddos.

Exercise alleviates tension through several means — it stimulates the release of endorphins, eases muscle cramps from clenching and provides an oxygen boost to the brain. The cumulative effect makes catching Zzz’s a snap.

4. It Helps Lift Depressive Moods

According to the folks at Harvard, exercise works as effectively as antidepressants for some people. If you don’t get your body moving as a child, it’s considerably more challenging to start a program as an adult. Build a love of the habit early.

People who have depression also struggle with getting enough sleep — racing thoughts keep them tossing and turning. Unfortunately, one or two sleepless nights can descend into a vicious spiral because a lack of Zzz’s exacerbates symptoms.

5. It Stimulates Imagination

While you sleep, your brain bridges neurological connections, helping you integrate new knowledge into your existing schema. It also gives your mind downtime necessary for you to have those “aha” flashes of insight.

You might think your children are plenty imaginative, but their brains are still forming. Nearly everything is new to them, and they need rest to absorb the information bombarding them moment by moment. If you want to raise the next Maya Angelou, you need to give young minds the nurturing they deserve.

6. It Encourages Physical Growth

Children spend as much as 40% of their childhood asleep, but it’s not because they’re lazy little buggers. Any mom who has ever had to chase a 2-year-old through a crowded shopping center can attest to their energy levels.

Kids sleep so much because their bodies release growth hormones while they slumber. Long-term sleep deprivation might stunt your child’s physical development.

7. It Boosts Immune System Function

While you sleep, your body produces cytokines — immune-system proteins that help your body fight infection. As your children prepare to head back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they need shuteye more than ever so that their bodies can store reserves for battle.

Likewise, sleep deprivation increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. While this substance isn’t harmful in small bursts, long-term overexposure can create widespread inflammation. Your child’s body mistakes this reaction for infection and amps the immune response into overdrive. As a result, fewer reserves remain when a real germ comes along.

8. It Burns Off Excess Energy

Finally, getting your child moving helps them burn off excess energy, which makes them less resistant to bedtime. Think about it — have you ever found it challenging to fall under after a grueling day at work that led you to skip the gym?

Children need movement — it’s vital to their development. Their bodies are born with an innate intelligence to take what they need if it isn’t given. It’s the same survival instinct that spurred human ancestors to eat and procreate. If you don’t let them get physical activity during the day, your child will try to get it in any way possible. If that means jumping on the bed that they should be tucked into, so be it.

Ensure Your Child Gets Physical Activity for a Good Night’s Sleep

Your child needs physical activity to get a good night’s sleep. Their development and health depend on it, so adhere to lights out at bedtime and keep them moving during the day.

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