Treating Sleep Problems in Children

Sleep disorders in children are often much different from the sleeping disorders that plague adults. Statistics have shown that children who don’t get sufficient sleep at night will often make up for it in class, will not have the energy to exercise and will experience depression like feelings. Nightmares, bedwetting, and sleepwalking are common symptoms of a sleep disorder, so parents should know what to look for and address these issues. If you’re worried about your children’s sleeping habits, then we’ve got some valuable advice on getting them into a consistent sleep schedule that will increase their quality of life.

New parents are often very concerned about how much sleep their baby is getting. Newborn infants have irregular sleep schedules and sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours per day. Although, they might only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time. As children mature, the total number of hours they need for sleep decreases. A pre-school child might still need to sleep 10 to 12 hours each day, whereas a school aged child sleeps about 10 hours each day. It is important to remember that each child’s sleeping cycle can be unique.

It is more probable that a child who has a sleeping disorder will most likely develop behavioral and attention problems that are show during school. A recent study reported that 37% of school aged children experience significant, nocturnal sleeping issues. Problems may include a reluctance to go to sleep, disrupted sleep, nightmares, and sleepwalking. In more mature children, bedwetting can also become a challenge. Sleep disorders are also common in kids with ADHD. It is important to try and figure out if these issues, especially if your child has difficulty falling asleep, are a side effect of any ADHD medication he or she may be taking.

Sleeping disorders in children can no doubt be beaten if a regular sleep cycle is followed to ensure that your child gets sufficient rest. Start by establishing a quiet environment just prior to bedtime. This is a great time to read a story or take a bath. By winding down, your child will be able to fall asleep quicker. Once the body adjusts to a set schedule, he or she is more likely to be tired at the same time every night. If your child suffers from night terrors or nightmares, then make them more comfortable by turning on a night light in the room and allowing him to sleep with a favorite toy. Physical comfort, such as a firm sleep foundation is also recommended to get a good night of sleep, as well as roomy and cozy pajamas.

Kids learn from example, so follow a regular sleep schedule yourself. If your child’s symptoms continue, then consider seeing a sleep specialist. Sometimes sleep problems in children can be caused by depression or other anxiety disorders. However, remember that each child is unique. If they’re energetic and active during the day, then don’t worry if they’re having occasional sleepless nights.

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– Joe Rodgers