Although parents work hard to protect their children from trauma and anxiety, the unfortunate reality is, it’s impossible to completely filter out aspects of the world that kids will find deeply upsetting. Children who feel stressed, as a result of anxiety, have a high chance of developing a disruptive sleep disorder.
Resistance to Settling
After an incident where a child is exposed to violent or, otherwise, frightening event, it’s common for them to have problems falling asleep. If they have a hard time processing what they saw, they may experience intense nightmares that give them anxiety and going to sleep. In order to avoid having another disturbing nightmare, a child might try to engage in specific in stimulating activities, such as playing a video game or watching TV, around their bedtime.
Night terrors are similar to nightmares, but they occur much earlier in the sleep cycle and often described as being more intense in nature. Often, night terror sufferers will wake up in a state of abject terror and will have difficulty falling back to sleep. While rare, in general, a child that has recently endured a traumatic event might experience intermittent night terrors, in its direct aftermath.
While sleep disorders, like night terrors and sleep resistance, are obvious, others are more subtle. For example, a child coping with a great deal of anxiety might not be able to fall asleep at night, even in a darkened bedroom. If your child has become increasingly difficult to wake up in the mornings, it may be the result of them not getting enough sleep. You should also be on the lookout for other signs such as, your child becoming clumsier, or if they have a history falling asleep in class, they might be suffering from sleep deprivation.
In some cases, a child’s anxieties will manifest as sleepwalking, a condition that causes sufferers to walk around or engage in other activities while in a state of semiconsciousness. As such, there is a risk that a child could injure severely injure themselves. Also, as a result of their condition, a sleepwalker’s rest is generally poor.
Treating a Childhood Sleep Disorder
While a few nights of lost sleep won’t have a major impact on a child’s development, a persistent sleep disorder will. Over time, a sleep disorder can cause a child to have difficulty both understanding and retaining new information. It can also cause them to become increasingly irritable and defiant. Both of those issues can have a significant negative impact on a child’s academic performance, and consequently, their chances of leading successful and productive lives as adults.
If you’re concerned that your child is a sleep disorder, contact us, today, to set up an appointment. Dr. Shukla has the skills and an experience to properly diagnose and treat your child, so that they can get the sleep they need.