Sleep is important to a child’s wellbeing because the body produces more of the hormone that stimulates growth during the night. Recent research has shown that children of all ages are not getting enough sleep and that can result in poor school achievement and behavioral problems.
In this article, we will explore common sleep problems in children and detail techniques that you can use to help your child sleep better.
How Much Sleep does your Child Need
New parents are often very concerned about how much sleep their baby is getting.
Newborn infants have irregular sleep cycles and sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours per day. However, they may only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time.
As children get older, the total number of hours they need for sleep decreases.
A pre-school child may still need to sleep 10 to 12 hours each day, whereas a school aged child sleeps about 10 hours each day.
It is important to remember that each child’s sleeping pattern will be different.
What Causes Children to have Trouble Sleeping
It is well known that a child who has a sleep problem will also develop behavioral and attention problems in school. A recent study reported that 37% of school aged children experience significant, nocturnal sleeping issues.
Problems may include a reluctance to go to sleep, disrupted sleep, nightmares and sleepwalking. In older children, bedwetting can also become a challenge.
Sleep problems are also common in kids with ADHD. It is important to try and figure out if these issues, especially if your child has difficulty falling asleep, are a side effect of any ADHD medication he or she might be taking.
How do you Treat Sleep Problems in Children
To avoid sleep problems in children, it is important that you help your child develop good sleeping habits at an early age. A regular routine will help them understand that it will soon be time to go to sleep.
Make sure there is a quiet period before bedtime and make it the same time every night. His or her sleep patterns will adjust accordingly.
Allow your child to take a favorite teddy bear, toy, or special blanket to bed each night. Such comforting objects often help children fall peacefully into a deep slumber.
Try to avoid letting your child sleep with you. This will only make it harder for him to learn to settle himself and fall asleep when he is alone.
Sleep problems in children can be a learned behavior.
If you have a family of night owls, then there might be a connection to your child’s bad sleeping habits.
If you’re really concerned, then visit a sleep disorder center – especially if you suspect that depression or other anxiety disorders may be behind your child’s sleepless nights.
It’s important to remember that different people need different amounts of sleep at different ages. If your child is not tired during the day, then don’t worry! Sometimes a simple bout of insomnia is nothing to lose sleep over.