Healthy Sleeping Habits Start with Basic Needs
At Arizona Helping Hands, we want to stress the importance of healthy sleeping habits and why it is crucial for the health of children. Many children in foster care go through life experiencing instability and hardships. A good night’s sleep prepares boys and girls to be alert at school and helps alleviate anxiety and tension in lives that have experienced way too much stress.
The goal of our Basic Needs Program is to reduce the impact of stressors on children in foster care, beginning with a safe place to sleep. We are thankful for the community support of our Basic Needs Program, ensuring children in foster care have a safe place to sleep and other essential items to be healthy and thrive. Additionally, we are grateful to our guest writer, Chloe Mills, RN, for sharing her expertise on the importance of sleep. Continue reading to learn how critical sleep can be for your overall health.
Lack of adequate and quality sleep can have short and long-term effects on the body. In the short term, sleep is necessary for many things, including to fight off infection, support the metabolism, performance in school, and the ability to work effectively and safely (1). If left unchecked, sleep deprivation can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes (1).
So, how much is enough? Sleeping less than seven hours per night on a consistent basis can have long-term effects (2). Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep needed versus what is actually obtained (2). So, if you need seven hours per night, but you only get six, then you have one hour of sleep debt. This is cumulative and can add up quickly throughout your week. Some research has shown that it can take up to nine days to remove sleep debt and about four days to recuperate one hour of sleep loss (2). Ideally the goal would be to not go into sleep debt, but if it happens, there are ways to recover. These methods include maintaining consistency, taking an afternoon nap (10–20-minute naps can increase working memory, learning, and mental acuity for a few hours), talking to your doctor about a potential undiagnosed sleep disorder, and giving it time. It can take days to recover to a normal sleep schedule, try increasing your sleep time by 15-30 minutes until you reach the necessary amount of sleep for your body (2).
Please consider providing a comfortable and safe night’s sleep to a child in foster care by making a Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organization (QFCO #10003) tax credit contribution. Single and head of household filers can receive up to a $500 tax credit, or if you’re married filing jointly, you can receive up to $1,000 tax credit. Arizona Helping Hands recommends you contact a qualified advisor regarding your specific tax situation. Learn more and donate today at:
1 U.S Department of Health and Human Services, ‘Sleep Health’, HealthyPeople.Gov, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2022, https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/sleep-health , (accessed 15 March 2022).
2 Newsom, Robert, ‘Sleep Debt and Catching up on Sleep’, Sleep Foundation, A OneCare Media Company, 2021,
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-debt-and-catch-up-sleep , (accessed 15 March 2022).
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