Sleeping problems are often a significant problem in adults. Fortunately, we know when it is becoming a problem and how to take the necessary steps in correcting these problems.
Unfortunately for children, they usually don’t know if its a problem, nor do they understand its side effects and don’t know how to take action against it.
If you are a parent, it’s imperative to make sure your child is having the proper rest and sleep they need to maintain good health.
Sleeping is extremely important for the growth of children, and if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, this can lead to many health complications when they grow up.
Lack of sleep in children can lead to obesity. Child obesity in children is currently a growing concern all over the world. UAE health authorities have concluded in a study that insufficient sleep is linked to unhealthy diets and negative weight gain.
Their 2018 study also showed that up to 40% of children are either overweight or obese. This poses the potential for serious health concerns when they grow older.
Understanding how to improve the quality of sleep is essential for parents to build a foundation for a healthy lifestyle for their children.
Does Your Child have Sleeping Issues?
If you suspect your child has sleeping problems, the best thing to do is to talk to them first. See if there is anything strange in their behaviour or what they say.
In a non-judgemental way, tell them the importance of sleep and ask if they need assistance in having a better rest.
If your child can’t tell you any problems they may be noticing, you can monitor what they do before sleep and their behaviour while they are asleep.
Here are some examples of sleeping problems in children:
- Sleep Talking
- Bed Wetting
- Heavy breathing/and or snoring
- Teeth grinding
- Crying during sleep or after waking up
- Difficulty falling asleep or waking up
- Constantly waking up in the middle of the night
- Nightmares or anxiousness
- Feeling sleepy during the day
If your child has any of these symptoms, usually a few adjustments in their daily routine can aid some of these issues. However, if you feel some of these issues are out of your control, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of an expert or a medical professional.
That way, you can get the best advice and resources on how to aid, improve or correct some of these issues. Just like adults, children can also suffer from a lack of sleep due to more severe problems that need to be medicated.
Some of these problems are:
- Insomnia (when a child struggles to fall asleep or stay asleep)
- Nightmares (when a child is afraid to sleep due to night terrors or bad dreams)
- Delayed Sleep Phase (when a child’s body clock is incorrectly adjusted due to lifestyle habits. This means they sleep and stay awake at the wrong times.)
- Narcolepsy (a lifelong neurological problem where a child can’t control their feelings of being tired during the day)
Helping Your Child with Sleep Disorders
Establish a time to put your child in bed consistently. For example, make sure your child is in bed from 9 pm every night and possibly 30 mins later on the weekends. This will help their bodies to adjust to the times that it needs to be at rest.
Create relaxing pre sleeping routines to get your child to calm down and smooth into sleep. You can give them a warm bath, give them something warm to drink or tell them a story. When the child is relaxed, anxiousness will decrease during sleep.
Keep the noise level down. Whether it be in the room or anywhere in the house, try not to expose your child to too much noise that may keep them up at night.
Please do not feed them too much food before bed. By having a full stomach, your child will still be digesting food while in bed. A full stomach can lead to abdominal discomfort and set off their mood to sleep.
Avoid feeding your child anything with sugar or caffeine at least 6 hours before they are supposed to sleep. Any of these substances will create difficulty for them to fall asleep
Make sure their bedroom is comfortable. Just by ensuring small things such as room temperature, lighting, and comfort of their bed, you are preparing them for a problem free sleep.
Anything that irritates them during the night can wake them up and develop poor habits in the long term from there. Always speak with your child about the comfort of their bed, their room and make sure the lighting and temperature are adjusted to their liking.
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