The Benefits of Swimming and Exercise for Good Sleep
Jammies on, teeth brushed, tucked in, stories read, prayers said and songs sung all before you say, “Goodnight! Sleep tight! Sweet dreams! Nighty night!” Parents all around the world dream of an easy, problem-free bedtime routine and an evening that keeps bad dreams and wake-ups at bay. However, as any parent knows, bedtime and sleeping through the night can be a struggle with young children. Have no fear—we’re here with some good news. Swim lessons may help contribute to better ZZZs because kiddos are sleepy after swimming.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
We all know the rule-of-thumb for the coveted eight hours of sleep each night, but the actual recommendation varies by age. In general, children require more sleep than adults. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that all children 13 and younger reach at least 11 hours of sleep on average. (We know, Parents. This sounds like a dream come true!)
So, how can Aqua-Tots and swimming lessons help little ones achieve a quality night’s sleep?
The Positive Correlation Between Exercise and Sleep
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine’s website, “Exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.” Parents rejoice! This can help you circumvent some of the dreaded midnight meanderings. The website goes on to state that engaging in just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can help improve sleep quality. Have we mentioned that each swim lesson is 30 minutes? That’s right, the magic sleep number is the same as an Aqua-Tots swim lesson. (How convenient!)
Sleeping after exercise or moderate aerobic activity can also help increase the amount of slow-wave sleep. Charlene Gamaldo, the medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at the Howard County General Hospital states, “Slow-wave sleep refers to deep sleep, during which the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate. Exercise can also help stabilize your mood and decompress the mind.” With a more relaxed state of mind and an increased aptitude for deeper sleep, physical activity and exercise can make littles sleepy enough to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
The Positive Correlation Between Swimming and Sleep
Sleep is one of the most essential needs for young children and participation in weekly swim lessons can help them achieve safe and confident swimming skills as well as better quality of rest. In addition to the benefits of regular exercise and sleep, swimming helps children destress and relax, making it possible to achieve better sleep more consistently.
The American Psychological Association has found that stress is a major interruption that can interfere with sleep. Swimming and swim lessons can help alleviate stress in children and lead to better sleep. Attending swim lessons three times per week can lower stress levels, improve mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety and improve sleep patterns. The gentle stretching of muscles, repetition of strokes and deep breathing done while swimming are all meditative in nature and have been compared to the de-stressing attributes of yoga.
In conjunction with the soothing movements of swimming, the Alaska Sleep Clinic published an article stating the calming benefits of being in water. They mentioned the sounds of lapping water and floating can be great ways to release tension and calm the mind. Both of which will make it easier for children to fall asleep at the end of the day.
If you find your little ones struggling to tire at the end of the day or experiencing issues staying asleep throughout the night, try exercise through swim lessons. In just 30 minutes of water safety instruction, they will receive enough physical activity, mental stimulation and de-stressing benefits to tucker them out when bedtime rolls around. Sleep, sleep, hooray!