All parents have had the experience of a child who is acting out due to lack of sleep. Maybe life has been too hectic to fit in a real nap or your child’s nights are mixed up with their days. No matter the cause, daily living can get exasperating for the entire family when a young one needs more zzzzs. Dozing and dreaming is important to anyone’s mood and health… I mean, even Jesus had to sleep, right?
Sleep is an amazing thing God has given us, a time where our body can shut down to refocus, re-energize, and just plain REST. It is a precious commodity that most of us are running low on it seems, undervalued by our high-speed society. In general our sleep deprived selves seem to function OK, but for our children from disrupted backgrounds, quality and quantity in sleep are not something that we can skimp on.
In the book, Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, Dr. Cogen explains that our adopted children, who are more vulnerable to overstimulation and stress than their peers, need adequate rest in order to reduce their coping behaviors. She states that sleep resets levels of the hormone cortisol. We’ve all heard of that very important chemical, cortisol that is produced when we experience stress. Sadly, many of our children have had prolonged exposure to unhealthy levels of this hormone during their developmental years, causing lingering negative effects even after having been placed in a secure, loving environment. Keeping them in a healthy routine that includes plenty of quality shut eye can help reverse these effects and equip them to manage their emotions and behaviors.