CHILDREN'S SLEEP PROBLEMS
Sleep is an extremely important part of our lives. Not only does it provide us with the physical rest that we all need, it also rejuvenates the mind so that it can think of creative ways to manage situations. While sleep is important for all, it has an additional significance when it comes to children. Children grow and develop when they are asleep and it is not unusual to see children have phases in which they shoot up and become tall. In addition to that, you can imagine the state of the household where the child is irritated due to sleep problems.
Kinds of Sleep Problems in Children
In most cases, children face insomnia and nightmares as the sleep problems that are most common. Insomnia is a situation where the child has difficulty falling asleep and parents have to go on with multiple stories and lullabies to only ensure that the child finally goes to sleep. At other times insomnia can manifest itself in frequent awakenings in the night. Some children wake up too early and are not rested and enthused when they get up too. Nightmares tend to occur in high frequency between the age of 3 and 6 years. Sometimes avoiding vitamins before going to bed is recommended so that the brain is not in an alert state.
Signs of Sleep Problems in Children
Some common signs of sleep problems that you should know so that you can identify them are mentioned below. It is important to note these so that you can take accurate and appropriate action.
- Dozing off in between activities like reading, watching television or sitting in the car
- Slowed thinking or response time
- Difficulty in concentrating on what is being said
- Disorientation and confusion
- Short attention spam
- Gaps in understanding of a concept
- Difficulty in focusing eyes
Helping Children with their Sleep Problems
There are temporary issues that can cause sleep problems in children. These can be related to a specific event or stress. However, if the sleep problems last for more than a couple of weeks, you should consult a doctor and try and find out what the real cause of the sleep problem could be. Having a word with the school counselor may also help you understand if there is something that you are missing on.
- Almost all children are affected by your emotions. Even a baby who cannot understand the tensions that are being discussed at home can feel tense vibes and feel anxious about sleeping. Do not try and push the issue under the carpet but avoid speaking about these things before bedtime. Create a bedtime schedule that you should maintain at all times and avoid heavy, fried food before bedtime. Colas and sugar should also be avoided to ensure that your child is not in a hyperactive state.
- Younger children tend to feel uncomfortable sleeping alone. Do not get concerned about such a thing. Lie down with your child till he falls asleep and then leave the room after assuring him that you will check frequently.
- Many teens have sleep problems due to the stress and tension that they feel due to peer pressure and familial expectations. Make sure that you talk to you teens and maintain a healthy environment all the time.
With good care, nourishment and upbringing you can avoid sleep issues from occurring and you can be sure to identify them if they do occur so that you can take timely action.
For additional information see Facts for Families:
#7 Children Who Won't Go to School
# 52 Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation, and
#4 The Depressed Child.
See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).
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