The three purposes of sleep

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The three purposes of sleep

Sleep is extremely important for everyone; for kids and adults alike. It serves three purposes. The first is that when you sleep, you grow. That is because the pituitary gland that is located right in the middle of the forehead, but behind the brain; that pituitary gland is responsible for growth hormone. It will only release hormone in the right rhythmic way, when you are in deep sleep. Kids need to understand that, not when they go to bed, but when they sleep, is when they grow. The second thing that sleep does is it helps set our metabolism. We know that when we get a better night's sleep -- and this is true for kids and adults -- our metabolism is speedy in the morning, and our understanding of satiated, or fullness of hunger, changes when we sleep better. There are a lot of studies that show that you are at a higher risk of being obese, if you sleep less. That's not because you are up eating. It is because the hormones that regulate fullness and hunger are off when you don't sleep very well. This is a very important piece of sleep. A third reason sleep is important is because it re-sets our mood. Sleep is very restorative. We all know how it feels to not get a good night's sleep, and then when we get kind of grumpy or moody. Our kids are the exact same. When they get enough sleep, they can take what happened during the day, they can incorporate it into their brain, and they can restore themselves to a really good baseline for the next day, and wake up happy.

See Cara Natterson, MD's video on The three purposes of sleep...


Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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