Though we are used to adults suffering from sleeping disorders on a frequent basis, insomnia in children is not rare or at all less severe. If your child wakes up several times during the night, or he or she seems pale and still tired in the morning, you may have to look into the problem a little further and determine if he or she suffers from a sleeping disorder. Unlike with adults, where the causes are sometimes more difficult to identify, insomnia in children usually has very obvious triggers. An upset tummy, a cold, asthma, stress, fear of darkness or nightmares are among the most common issues associated with insomnia in children.
As unlikely as it may seem, stress also affects the way young children sleep. Problems with family, friends or school are all possible causes that could make a child uneasy or worried at bedtime. Once possible physiological causes are excluded, you’ll have to take into consideration the more profound issues that may affect him or her. Thus, pay more attention to what your child frequently includes in his or her conversations. It can give you insight into what is bothering him or her enough to cause night wakings and bad dreams. Talking and offering unconditional love and support during such times is essential in order to make sure that the condition does not worsen.
Having a regular bedtime helps prevent the risk of insomnia in children. It creates a healthy sleeping pattern that allows the mind to trigger sleep after a certain hour. Be careful what you include as part of your child’s bedtime routine. A sleeping problem could arise if your child is used to falling asleep to a certain sound, such as a radio or tape that is later turned off. If he or she wakes up during the night, there will be no soothing sound in the room, and the child may not know how to fall asleep on his or her own. Waking up at night and unconsciously recognizing our surroundings is very common, and if there is something strange in the pattern we have to adjust it in order to be able to sleep again.
Another tactic used to prevent insomnia in children is to monitor their meals and eliminate all possible nervous stimulants from dinner. Chocolate, drinks containing caffeine, or other irritating foods should be avoided, especially in the evening hours. Light meals are good for both children and adults alike. Warm milk with honey, tea and fresh fruit juice also may aid in relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep in the first place. However, such drinks should be served at least two hours before going to bed to avoid having the child wake up to urinate. With every break in the sleep cycle there may be a difficulty of falling back asleep, so it is better to avoid waking at night altogether if possible.