How You Can Help Your Kids Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It’s a question you’ve no doubt asked as a parent: “Why can’t my kids get a good night’s sleep?”
Sleep is important to a child’s health. Learning how to sleep soundly is an essential part of development. It is typical, for various reasons, for children to wake up during the night. However, returning to sleep may be difficult at times for children. Sleep deprivation in children can lead to an array of side effects such as behavioral problems and moodiness. Fortunately, many of the common sleep problems children have are easily remedied after they are identified.
Why Your Kids Need a Good Night’s Sleep
Promotes Growth. Sleep helps kids’ bodies produce the right amount of hormones and chemicals at the right times, which ensures your children will keep growing and going strong.
Builds Resistance. Sufficient sleep helps boost your kid’s immune system. Inadequate sleep, in other words, hurts the immune system’s ability to respond, making your child more susceptible to colds and sicknesses.
Regulates Emotion. Being overly tired can make it difficult for your child to manage their emotions. As a result, everyday routines and actions that are usually enjoyable can make your child cranky, irritable, and excessively grumpy.
Encourages Learning. A good night’s sleep is critical in keeping your child healthy. When your child is tired, they have more trouble paying attention, are less able to acquire and process new knowledge, and are unable to effectively store and retrieve information. These are all critical components to your kid’s mental health.
Gives Them Energy. Sleep helps promote energy. Lack of rest is problematic if your kids are active in sports teams, after school activities, or other pursuits that require sustainable attention and energy levels.
Reasons Why Kids Have Trouble Sleeping
Children may suffer from sleeping disorders such as insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, sleep walking, and sleep apnea. These can be caused by a variety of reasons stemming from difficulty with school, social issues, family issues, or changes to their regular routine. Common causes and triggers include:
Stress. Children suffer from stress the same way adults do. Excess worry and stress can lead to insomnia. Show interest in your child’s life and build trust so they feel comfortable sharing their concerns with you.
Caffeine. Stimulants such as caffeine interfere and disrupt sleep cycles and results in sleep latency. Avoid and/or decrease your kids consumption of soda and energy drink, along with any other snacks, foods, or beverages that could contain caffeine or sugar.
Medication. Some side effects of medications can interfere with sleep. These drugs include anti-depressants, corticosteroids, anti-convulsants, and those used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Medical, Psychiatric Disorders. Conditions such as asthma, a stuffy nose from allergies, or itchy skin from eczema can interfere with good sleep. If these conditions are chronic, they may flare up. Seek medical attention for treatment options.
Environmental Factors. Cold weather and the amount of light in a room can interfere with sleep. Make sure the bed and mattress are comfortable, the room is organized, and aim to remove all electronics in the bedroom.
Prevention and Treatment Options
Implement Healthy Sleep Hygiene Habits. Restrict time spent in bed to sleeping (i.e. no computer usage, doing homework, or watching TV in bed), maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeinated products 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, and avoid stimulating activities within an hour of bedtime (i.e. TV watching, electronic gaming, etc.).
Comfortable Sleep Environment. Maintain a bedroom that is quiet, calm, comfortable, and dark.
Teach Kids How to Relax. Foster a relaxing environment with family time at night. Deep breathing and positive mental imagery before bedtime can be helpful aids to falling asleep.
Set Bedtime. Your child typically needs 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night depending on their age. Adjust and set the bedtime so that your child gets the right amount of sleep.
Schedule a Consultation
There are numerous factors that contribute to inadequate and poor sleep in children. If your child is suffering from inadequate sleep, it may be time to discuss a prevention and treatment plan with your doctor. Join our many satisfied patients, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today for treatment options.