There is no doubt that as parents, we understand that our babies and toddlers need lots of sleep. But I don't believe that most of us are aware of the linkages between adequate sleep and diseases.
Studies from reputed institutions including Neurologists and Physicians from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Sleep Foundation have started to establish clearlinkage between the two (i.e. lack of adequate sleep impacts the brain and increases the risk of various diseases).
I am sharing a couple of easy to understand visuals below that summarise the steps involved in the cycle of sleep and how inadequate sleep affects the brain and body. While the diseases and health issues discussed apply to adults - the two areas that caught my attention and could pertain to children are the following:
Obesity & Diabetes: People short on sleep feel hungrier, generally crave more sweet and salty foods, & consume more calories than those who sleep longer.
Memory & Learning: Lost sleep keeps the brain from turning information from the prior day into long-term memories. Sleep is vital for the brain's ability to learn.
To see the full article, click through the following link: Washington Post - Sleep & Disease