If your children are having difficulties falling asleep or they wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to get back to sleep, they more than likely are suffering from insomnia.
When kids are not getting enough sleep at night, іt саn hаvе а detrimental effect durіng thе day, making them tired аnd grumpy and оftеn hard fоr teachers tо manage, which can lead tо behavior problems.
Additionally, research has found that a lack of sleep can cause serious medical complications such as obesity, high blood pressure and depression.
As a parent, you need to make sure that your children are getting the proper amount of sleep. Children bеtwееn thе ages оf оnе аnd fіvе require 10-12 hours оf sleep реr night, school age children ages six to twelve require аbоut 10 hours оf sleep реr night and teens need approximately 9 hours of sleep per night.
SYMPTOMS OF INSOMNIA IN CHILDREN
Here are some indicators of kids with insomnia:
- Drowsy with lack of energy during the day
- Making mistakes or having mishaps
- Poor behavior at school
- Being moody or aggressive
- Being forgetful
- Poor concentration
- Anxiety about going to sleep
- Difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
REASONS WHY CHILDREN HAVE INSOMNIA
What is causing your kids not to sleep at night?
1. Bad Sleep Habits
Infants and younger children will have trouble getting to sleep at night if they have:
- No consistent bedtime hour
- Deviations in schedule
- Overstimulation at night (like rambunctious play/fighting with siblings before bed)
- Older kids and teenagers may experience insomnia as a result of:
- Hitting the sack too late
- Too many diversions in their bedroom (TV, computer, talking/texting on phone, video games)
- Too many activities scheduled causing homework to be done too late at night
- Too much caffeine
- Too much sugar or heavy, fatty food before bedtime
2. Physical Issues
These conditions will potentially cause all ages to have insomnia:
- Bed wetting
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Growing pains
- Muscle cramps
- Thyroid disease
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Side-effects from medications
3. Emotional Issues
Sleep difficulties can occur with young children if they have:
- Separation anxiety
- Night terrors
- Monsters under the bed!
4. Sleep Environment
These conditions can keep kids up at night:
- Noisy Bedroom
- Bedroom has too many light sources from various electronics (digital clocks, night lights, computers, etc.)
- Bedroom is too warm or cold
- Ill fitting pajamas
- Bed is cause of discomfort (too soft or firm)
- A lost “comfort object”
TREATING INSOMNIA IN CHILDREN
Here are some tips to get your kids back into a healthy sleep schedule:
- Limit the time in bed to sleeping only – no other activities such as TV, homework, video games, talking/texting on the phone or reading
- Set up a consistent sleep schedule – waking up and going to bed at the same time 7 days a week (no exceptions – that means holidays, too!)
- No food or drinks with caffeine, sugar or artificial ingredients for at least 5-6 hours before bedtime
- No intense mental or physical stimulation within an hour of bedtime
- Bedroom should be quiet and thermostat set at a comfortable temperature
- Use appropriate seasonal bedding (regulate amount of blankets according to season)
- Make sure kids exercise every day; but not within 2 hours of bedtime
- Children should get daily fresh air and sunshine – this will keep their circadian rhythm in balance
- Have your child get out of bed and do something quiet and relaxing, such as reading, if they can’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes
- Teach your children some relaxation techniques – such as, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive visualization to practice when going to sleep
- Incorporate a humidifier to moisten dry air
- Insomnia medication – this option is rarely used to treat childhood insomnia and generally not recommended. Be sure to consult your doctor regarding all medication issues, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements (calcium, melatonin, etc.), and herbal products.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – the techniques used in this type of therapy have proven to be very successful and there are excellent programs you can use at home such as SleepTracks. Research has shown that behavioral techniques (such as improving sleep habits and routines) are more effective and healthier than administering medication.
Treatment of Health Issues
Maladies such as asthma, allergies or ear infections can be successfully treated by the family doctor. Insomnia resulting from these disorders generally disappears along with the ailment.
If уоur child hаѕ insomnia and exhibits signs of being nervous, irritable, high strung, аnd easily angered thеn he or she might be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Thеrе іѕ а direct correlation bеtwееn ADHD аnd insomnia іn youngsters.
Be sure to contact the doctor if your child has separation anxiety, frequent nightmares, sleep terrors, habitual snoring (which could signify sleep apnea), depression, or any other emotional concerns. Your health care professional can really help to improve your child’s sleep issues and insomnia, therefore improving the quality of their life.
Other insomnia related articles:
Types of Insomnia
Top Causes of Insomnia
How to go to Sleep – 48 Tips to Help Cure your Insomnia
Diet and Insomnia – Foods That Cause Insomnia
Diet and Insomnia – Foods to Help You Sleep
Allergies and Insomnia
Alcohol and Insomnia
Meditation to Help Cure Insomnia
Should you use Antihistamines for Insomnia?
Aromatherapy for Insomnia – It makes Scents
Acupressure for Insomnia – Getting to the point
The Benefits of Using Acupuncture for Insomnia
Hypnosis for Insomnia
Menopause and Insomnia
Twelve Tips to Prevent the Effects of Jet Lag
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