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Sleep Helps a Body Grow Big and Strong

Molly Hey 6/3/2021

Children’s brains grow more from birth to age 5 than they do for the rest of their lives. Think about that! Think about all of the developmental changes that go on in that short amount of time. From sitting up to walking, from babbling to talking, from merely looking at another baby to making friends. So much happens developmentally  in these early years of life. The building blocks of life are fundamentally important during these stages, one of the most important building blocks is simply- sleep. Sleep helps a body grow big and strong!

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When children sleep their brains are growing, and their body is growing as well! During sleep, our pituitary gland releases what can be simply called, growth hormone. This growth hormone is critical to not only growing bigger and adding muscle, but it is also essential in terms of healing. During REM sleep, our brain will “prune” itself to remove the things we don’t need to remember as well as ensure we hold onto the new memories from today; which is obviously central to all of the learning that occurs as a child. If sleep is interrupted or inconsistent, a growing body has a harder time getting big and strong. In fact, sleep deprivation in children and teens can contribute to obesity and poor academic performance. 

One of the most important tools a child can have during these crucial years of development, is a safe, consistent and comfortable place to sleep. My Very Own Bed provides access to brand new beds for the most at risk children. A bed can help to ensure a good night's sleep which in turn will help the child grow big and strong! 

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Molly Hey is an Early Head Start supervisor at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties. Molly supervises the home visiting program that meets weekly with pregnant and parenting families, providing these families with resources and education to ensure school readiness for their children. Molly also provides learning opportunities for the families and children enrolled in their programs, including a sleep education training from Sweet Dreamzzz, now part of the Pajama Program.