Sleep is even more important for children than adults. Yet, there are many children that suffer from sleep disorders. One study found that about 36% of children between six and nine do not get enough sleep. The statistics are even more alarming when looking at older children. Among those between 14 and 17 years, an estimated 49% do not sleep enough.
Studies explain that sleep deprivation in children causes interferences with the child’s growth. It leads to daytime sleepiness, difficulty focusing, tardiness at school, and absenteeism. Children may also find it harder to wake up in the morning and even become more aggressive. Depression and hyperactivity are other issues linked to sleep disorders in children.
Recognizing signs of sleep disorders in children should be a priority for all parents. It is also important to understand what treatments are available.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders in Children
There are a few symptoms in children that may signal a sleep disorder. These symptoms will generally show you, as a parent, that your child is not getting enough sleep. Once you are able to recognize signs of sleeping problems, you can take appropriate action.
Some of the symptoms that parents should look out for include:
- The child may have problems falling asleep at night. They may also wake up frequently during the night.
- The child may find it hard to sleep through the entire night – from their regular bedtime to the time when they are woken up.
- The child’s daytime performance may decline with any obvious explanations.
- There may be a decline in your child’s academic performance.
- A more frequent occurrence of nightmares may occur.
- Some children tend to sleepwalk when they suffer from a sleeping disorder.
- You may notice that your child starts to snore a lot.
- There may be pauses in breathing when your child sleeps.
Treatments for Sleep Disorders in Children
Providing treatment for sleep disorders in children is important. There are a few ways that you can help to improve their sleep. You should consider the specific problems. Then consider what type of treatment will be most appropriate for your child.
Below are a few tips that may help your child sleep better and longer at night.
1. Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine is one of the best ways to promote better sleep for your child. This particular strategy is great at helping your child fall asleep faster. You should create a relaxing bedtime routine. There are a few ways to do this. Reading your child a storybook when they get into bed is one good method to consider. The story should be relaxing, and you should ask your child to simply listen. You can also make a habit of doing other relaxing things before bedtime with your child.
2. Do Not Overfeed Prior To Bedtime
Allowing your child to eat too close to bedtime can be a bad habit – and this may interfere with their ability to sleep. If your child has a big meal before they get into bed, their stomach will be full, and their body will start to digest the food. This means they will have energy that keeps them up during the night. It is also important not to allow candy and other food that are packed with sugar just before bedtime.
3. No Technology after Bedtime
Technology should be a big no-no when it comes to your child’s sleeping routine. Once your child gets into their bed, it is important that you ensure there is no technology that can keep them up during the night. Switch off the television and unplug their gaming console if you have to. If you do not feel comfortable taking away your child’s portable gaming console and smartphone, then ask them to put it in the drawer. Make sure they understand that they are not allowed to use the item after bedtime.
4. Be Consistent with Your Child’s Bed Time
You also need to be consistent when it comes to getting your child in bed. Sending your child to bed early one night and allowing them to stay up late the next interferes with their circadian rhythm. Rather make sure to get them to bed the same time every night.
5. Create A More Ideal Sleep Environment
You also need to ensure the sleep environment of your child is relaxing and comfortable. Buying a better mattress for your child can help them sleep better. You should also consider the temperature in the room. If it is too hot, then your child may have trouble sleeping.
According to SleepStandards, there are several sleep disorders that can develop in children. When these cause sleep deficiency, the child’s development is at risk. Your child may feel tired, irritable, and start to experience problems with academics in school. Recognize signs of sleep disorders and implement an appropriate treatment plan.