Understanding the causes and potential treatment of insomnia can help parents ensure their children get enough rest.
Most children have no problem falling asleep after a day of learning and playing. However, some may have more difficulty getting into dreamland than others. Recent studies indicate that more than 30% of children are sleep deprived. Apart from having trouble falling asleep, some children also deal with sleep disorders, the most common of which is insomnia.
Insomnia varies in severity, and while in some cases it can be corrected at home with a few hacks for better sleep, some forms may require a professional’s help for proper treatment. Here’s how to know if your new child has insomnia and how you can help them cope.
Always Cranky, Forgetful, and Tired?
Most people associate insomnia with constantly stressed and busy adults, but even children can have difficulties sleeping or staying asleep. If your new child is always sleepy during the day, has difficulty focusing, or is constantly tired and cranky, then it’s possible that they have this condition.
Stress, changes in their regular routines, caffeinated drinks, and even certain medications can also cause this sleep disorder. Being in a new environment such as a new home and school can also cause your new child to have sleepless nights.
Can Very Young Children Have Insomnia?
Even children ages one to three can have short-term insomnia, but one way to alleviate the problem is to ensure that their bedding is comfortable and safe. Make sure that crib or toddler bed mattresses are soft and supportive enough and that there’s plenty of space for them to move around. Placing a cute night light on their nightstand can also help to comfort them. Enforcing a strict bedtime is key to an improved sleep pattern, so if you say that they should be in bed by 8 p.m., make sure that this becomes the rule every night.
How Can You Help an Older Child Sleep Better?
To help older children sleep well, you need to find out which factors are contributing to their lack of sleep. If it’s their medication, then you’ll need to consult a pediatrician to see if you can change it. Monitoring their caffeine intake can also benefit them in the long run. If you suspect that your new child is drinking too much soda or energy drinks, then remove these from the house. Encourage them to drink smoothies and juices instead.
You can also try talking to them to see if anything’s bothering them-- sometimes, all it takes is a good conversation to allay any worries and fears that can prevent them from dozing off at night.
If you think that your child has insomnia, try these tips and see what works. If the problem persists, see your pediatrician and ask to be referred to doctors who specialize in treating sleep disorders.