Most children require a minimum of nine hours of sleep at night. However, several stressors may cause children to have sleep problems. The most common sleep problems affecting children include insomnia, waking up at night, sleepwalking, nightmares, bedwetting, and restless sleep. Sleep problems can adversely affect a child's academic performance, alertness, social relationships and cause behavioral disorders. Below are strategies to help your child overcome sleep problems.
Adjust their Feeding Program
Ensure that your child does not consume foods or beverages containing caffeine less than six hours before bedtime. Avoid giving your child large meals close to bedtime because it stresses the digestive system. Discourage your child from engaging in stimulating activities after dinner.
Make the Bedroom A Good Sleeping Environment
Make sure the bedroom has the right temperature and lighting. We tend to sleep better at cooler temperatures. Ensure the sleeping environment isn't too hot or cold. Use sleep-stimulating décor and wallpapers, make sure the noise levels in the home are low, and remove distractions such as outside lights or noises.
Devise A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Adopt strategies to make bedtime fun and relaxing. For example, you can give your child a warm bath before sleep. This serves two purposes. One, baths are a place to relax and unwind after a busy day. Two, studies have found that taking a hot bath about 60 - 90 minutes before bed could help people fall asleep more quickly. It’s the cooling off after a hot bath that is what is important here. When the core temperature decreases it upregulates a hormone called Adenosine. Increased amounts of Adenosineslows down the activity of neuronsand makes us feel drowsy. You can also read them a bedtime story. These routines should take place in your child's bedroom. Further, switch off all electronic entertainment such as TV's, devices, and video games at least one hour before bedtime.
Help Them Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety is a significant cause of sleep problems in children. It can result from a child worrying excessively about issues affecting their lives. Sources of anxiety may include learning difficulties, bullying, domestic violence, and divorce or separation. Ask your kid what they are worried about and find ways of solving the problem. For instance, you can address bullying at school by talking to the teacher, while more complex psychological issues like family dysfunction require professional counseling.
Make Your Child Feel Safe Alone
If your child has a complex sleeping disorder such as nightmares, they might need your assurance to fall asleep. Some of the strategies you can use to help your child feel safe include leaving the lights on dim and the bedroom door open. You can also assure your child that you will check them through the night. You can start with 10-minute intervals and increase the duration with time.
Seek Professional Help
If your child has complex sleep problems, it may indicate a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. BCB Therapy provides counseling services to clients in Oregon. Contact us to talk to our experts.