Sleep Problems in Children & Sleep Disorders in Childen

The more commonly associated sleep disorders with young children are in the form of parasomnias, which include bedwetting, sleep-walking and night-terrors. Fortunately, parasomnias can be easily recognisable as they are physical issues that occur during the night. Sleep-walking could occur without the parent knowing, but if a child is showing signs of sleep-walking, it will be necessary to put precautions in place to ensure the child’s safety. Young children can also suffer from primary sleeping disorders similar to adults e.g. Insomnia, however they are normally on a smaller scale.

Children & Sleep Problems

Children tend to be more prone to suffer sleeping disorders as they are in need of a lot of sleep due to growth spurts, hormone changes and so on. However, due to lifestyle changes they rarely get enough sleep and thus the sleep time is reduced. Hence, the reduced sleep many adolescents receive means they develop excessive daytime sleepiness which impairs their performances at school and turns them towards stimulants such as caffeine. Insomnia is therefore very common in adolescents with around 11% suffering from the disorder. The arrival of menstruation for young women also increases the insomnia by almost three times as much and the disrupted night’s sleep it causes lead to further disruptions to their lifestyles.

Healthy Bedtime Routines

There are some measures you can take to ensure your child is obtaining the right amount of sleep, by employing a healthy bedtime routine. However, some parents will no doubt struggle to obtain this routine with their adolescent children, as we all know “they know best!” Try the following sleep patterns:

  • Try and make their bedroom a relaxing environment that they do not necessary associate with games and so on. Remove electrical items such as computers, out of their rooms if possible, and make their bedroom a place that is only used for sleep.
  • Give them a consistent bedtime, you can have some flexibility but mostly remain stern and unwavering on their routine.
  • Try not to let your child nap close to their bedtime as this may reduce their willingness and ability to sleep at bedtime.
  • Try not to let them do any physical activities up to two hours before bed as this will provide too much excitement for them.
  • Don’t let them go to sleep on a full stomach, but equally do not let your child go to bed on an empty stomach.
  • Try to let your child go to sleep on their own so they can learn to sleep on their own accord.
  • Try not to let them drink too much before bed as this could disrupt their sleeping pattern and also contribute to bedwetting.
  • Getting them up at the same time in a morning is just as important, if not more important as putting them to bed at the same time.

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