Sleeping Times During Infancy And Childhood

Sleeping Times During Infancy And Childhood



Sleeping Times During Infancy and Childhood
During Infancy

For three or​ four weeks after birth the infant sleeps more or​ less, day and night, only waking to​ satisfy the demands of​ hunger; at​ the expiration of​ this time, however, each interval of​ wakefulness grows longer, so that it​ sleeps less frequently, but for longer periods at​ a​ time.
This disposition to​ repose in​ the early weeks of​ the infants life must not be interfered with; but this period having expired, great care is​ necessary to​ induce regularity in​ its hours of​ sleep, otherwise too much will be taken in​ the daytime, and restless and disturbed nights will follow. The child should be brought into the habit of​ sleeping in​ the middle of​ the day, before its dinner, and for about two hours, more or​ less. if​ put to​ rest at​ a​ later period of​ the day, it​ will invariably cause a​ bad night.
At first the infant should sleep with its parent. The low temperature of​ its body, and its small power of​ generating heat, render this necessary. if​ it​ should happen, however, that the child has disturbed and restless nights, it​ must immediately be removed to​ the bed and care of​ another female, to​ be brought to​ its mother at​ an early hour in​ the morning, for the purpose of​ being nursed. This is​ necessary for the preservation of​ the mothers health, which through sleepless nights would of​ course be soon deranged, and the infant would also suffer from the influence which such deranged health would have upon the milk.
When a​ month or​ six weeks has elapsed, the child, if​ healthy, may sleep alone in​ a​ cradle or​ cot, care being taken that it​ has a​ sufficiency of​ clothing, that the room in​ which it​ is​ placed is​ sufficiently warm, viz. 60 degrees, and the position of​ the cot itself is​ not such as​ to​ be exposed to​ currents of​ cold air. it​ is​ essentially necessary to​ attend to​ these points, since the faculty of​ producing heat, and consequently the power of​ maintaining the temperature, is​ less during sleep than at​ any other time, and therefore exposure to​ cold is​ especially injurious. it​ is​ but too frequently the case that inflammation of​ some internal organ will occur under such circumstances, without the true source of​ the disease ever being suspected. Here, however, a​ frequent error must be guarded against, that of​ covering up the infant in​ its cot with too much clothing throwing over its face the muslin handkerchief and, last of​ all, drawing the drapery of​ the bed closely together. The object is​ to​ keep the infant sufficiently warm with pure air; it​ therefore ought to​ have free access to​ its mouth, and the atmosphere of​ the whole room should be kept sufficiently warm to​ allow the child to​ breathe it​ freely in​ winter, therefore, there must always be a​ fire in​ the nursery.
The child up to​ two years old, at​ least, should sleep upon a​ feather bed, for the reasons referred to​ above. The pillow, however, after the sixth month, should be made of​ horsehair; for at​ this time teething commences, and it​ is​ highly important that the head should be kept cool.
During Childhood

Up to​ the third or​ fourth year the child should be permitted to​ sleep for an hour or​ so before its dinner. After this time it​ may gradually be discontinued; but it​ must be recollected, that during the whole period of​ childhood more sleep is​ required than in​ adult age. The child, therefore, should be put to​ rest every evening between seven and eight; and if​ it​ be in​ health it​ will sleep soundly until the following morning. No definite rule, however, can be laid down in​ reference to​ the number of​ hours of​ sleep to​ be allowed; for one will require more or​ less than another. Regularity as​ to​ the time of​ going to​ rest is​ the chief point to​ attend to; permit nothing to​ interfere with it, and then only let the child sleep without disturbance, until it​ awakes of​ its own accord on the following morning, and it​ will have had sufficient rest.
The amount of​ sleep necessary to​ preserve health varies according to​ the state of​ the body, and the habits of​ the individual. Infants pass much the greater portion of​ their time in​ sleep. Children sleep twelve or​ fourteen hours. The schoolboy generally ten. in​ youth, a​ third part of​ the twentyfour hours is​ spent in​ sleep. Whilst, in​ advanced age, many do not spend more than four, five, or​ six hours in​ sleep.
It is​ a​ cruel thing for a​ mother to​ sacrifice her childs health that she may indulge her own vanity, and yet how often is​ this done in​ reference to​ sleep. An evening party is​ to​ assemble, and the little child is​ kept up for hours beyond its stated time for retiring to​ rest, that it​ may be exhibited, fondled, and admired. Its usual portion of​ sleep is​ thus abridged, and, from the previous excitement, what little he does obtain, is​ broken and unrefreshing, and he rises on the morrow wearied and exhausted.
Once awake, it​ should not be permitted to​ lie longer in​ bed, but should be encouraged to​ arise immediately. This is​ the way to​ bring about the habit of​ early rising, which prevents many serious evils to​ which parents are not sufficiently alive, promotes both mental and corporeal health, and of​ all habits is​ said to​ be the most conducive to​ longevity.
A child should never be suddenly aroused from sleep; it​ excites the brain, quickens the action of​ the heart, and, if​ often repeated, serious consequences would result. The change of​ sleeping to​ waking should always be gradual.
The bed on which the child now sleeps should be a​ mattress at​ this age a​ feather bed is​ always injurious to​ children; for the body, sinking deep into the bed, is​ completely buried in​ feathers, and the unnatural degree of​ warmth thus produced relaxes and weakens the system, particularly the skin, and renders the child unusually susceptible to​ the impressions of​ cold. Then, instead of​ the bed being made up in​ the morning as​ soon as​ vacated, and while still saturated with the nocturnal exhalations from the body, the bedclothes should be thrown over the backs of​ chairs, the mattress shaken well up, and the window thrown open for several hours, so that the apartment shall be thoroughly ventilated.
It is​ also indispensably requisite not to​ allow the child to​ sleep with persons in​ bad health, or​ who are far advanced in​ life; if​ and where possible, it​ should always sleep alone.




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