Causes Of Insomnia In Kids
For many children, their difficulties falling or staying asleep stem from their daytime habits or how they spend their time right before bed. Eating too much sugary food during the day, for example, or watching TV right before bed could be enough to disrupt your childs sleep. Of course, younger children especially will have difficulty making the connection between their habits and the quality of their sleep, so youll have to act as a sleep detective on their behalf.
Other common reasons why your child may be experiencing sleep difficulties include
Insomnia and too much time in bed
Sometimes, a childs insomnia may stem from having more time allotted for sleep than they need each night. In these cases, your child could fight their bedtime or wake up in the night or too early in the morning. To find an ideal bedtime, note when your child starts to become drowsy in the evening. Thats the time they should be going to bed, so start their bedtime routine about 45 minutes earlier. If theyre awake much longer, they may start to get a second wind, and then become more difficult to handle.
Tips To Help Your Toddler Sleep Well At Night
Ensure your toddlers schedule is age-appropriate
As children age, they are able to withstand longer periods of wakefulness. If your toddler is having trouble falling asleep at bedtime waking up at night wont sleep through the night or waking too early in the morning, it could be that your little one is getting too much day sleep or is napping too late in the day for their age and stage of development.18
Learn more here: Transitioning to a New Nap Pattern
Try an earlier bedtime
At the same time, studies are showing the advantages of an earlier bedtime. Putting young children to bed early not only allows them to better meet their sleep needs,19 but also has long term benefits.
For example, children who are put to bed before 9pm may be less likely to have attention and behavioral issues when they are older.22 An earlier bedtime may also reduce the risk of developmental delays such as with language and motor function.23
Try using pictures to establish the bedtime routine
Toddlers respond very well to visuals. You could try creating a picture chart displaying the elements of your toddlers bedtime routine with the last thing being sleep. Point to the picture as you complete each task so your toddler is ready for the transition into their bed or crib.24
Could it be a sleep regression?
Read more: What are Sleep Regressions?
Environmental Factors Can Wake Children Up
As human beings were still subject to timeless, natural rhythms. Some persistent instincts sneak through. Moore notes that kids will wake when they sense the sun. Its a downside of having those pesky circadian rhythms. Also, kids can pop up if they hear a commotion. It is, after all, how they protected themselves from lions back in the day. Its just, lions never swore about finding their keys before work.
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Should Toddlers Sleep In Their Bed
Whether your toddler should or shouldnt sleep in their own bed is entirely up to you. Some children are confident and ready to sleep alone early on, while others will stay in the family bed for longer.
Getting your toddler to fall asleep while you lie next to them is easy, but it isnt always ideal. Many parents, including me, tend to nod off along with their child, thus, losing our evenings. Alternatively, many parents complain of getting limited sleep themselves due to their toddler moving during sleep or having less room in the parent bed. This is a difficult conundrum because they want their child to sleep, but they need sleep too.
Theres another drawback if your toddler sleeps in their own room you have to quietly move back into your bedroom when you awake.
This disturbs your sleep, and later, if your child wakes up, theyll probably come looking for you.
If you arent willing to continue with this, you need to break the habit and get them to fall asleep by themselves . If you prefer having them in your bed, its perfectly fine. Many parents are happy to continue co-sleeping throughout toddlerhood.
Its an individual call as long as youre happy to continue with it, go for it, whether its co-sleeping or not.
You should never force your toddler to sleep in their own bedroom before they show signs of readiness. The transition should be gentle, and you should respond to any fears or worries your toddler might have.
Start By Winding Down
Toddlers generally spend the day exploring, racing around the living room, playing in the park and so on. After this, they need time to unwind before being able to sleep. Going from fifth to first gear requires some calm and quiet.
Although your toddler may seem calm when watching videos on a screened device, using one is not a good wind down activity prior to bed. Research shows that the blue light emitted from these devices can suppress melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is important for sleep onset. If it is suppressed, falling asleep will be more difficult for your toddler . It is, therefore, it is best to avoid such activities around bedtime.
The AAP guidelines recommend no screen time one hour prior to going to sleep .
Try to keep the house calm for a couple of hours before bedtime. Make it the time to pack toys away and perhaps offer a healthy snack that makes their tummy feel fuller.
Now is also a good time for a bath. If, however, you dont give daily baths, do something like washing their face and hands, and then have them change into their pajamas.
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Should I Keep My Toddler On A Strict Sleep Schedule
Though putting your child on a sleep schedule can make your days a little inflexible, it pays off when your child goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time every day. Once you sleep train, youll probably get more sleep, too! No matter which sleep training technique you use, the sooner you start, the better.
What Are Some Common Sleep Problems
- Sleep deprivation: Some children dont get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because they arent getting enough naptime or aren’t getting to bed early enough.
- : Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if they feel upset that you are not there. Try an extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open when you put them to bed.
- Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.
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How Can I Help My Toddler Sleep
Get used to setting the rules and sticking to them. This not only helps your child get more sleep now, but also helps you later if other, more serious discipline problems arise.
If your toddler wakes in the middle of the night, you’ll still want to quietly and quickly provide reassurance that everything is OK and you are close by. But too much interaction can backfire, so keep your nighttime “visits” brief and boring for your toddler.
If you have an early riser, help keep sunlight from waking your toddler by keeping curtains or blinds closed. Also try putting a few safe toys in the crib they may keep your child busy in the morning.
How Can I Help My Baby Sleep
Each baby is different, but like adults, babies benefit from having a consistent bedtime, a predictable bedtime routine, and a nighttime environment that is comfortable and relaxing. Experts debate whether parents should let babies cry it out if they wake during the night, or whether they should try to soothe the baby back to sleep each time. Both strategies have shown effectiveness in research. To help a baby sleep through the night on a regular basis, it may be best to test out multiple approaches to see what works and what best suits the needs of both parent and baby.
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Safety Issues With Toddlers
Toddlers are at an age where they are becoming increasingly aware and curious about their surroundings. Therefore, as the parents or guardians, you will need to be more cautious about your child’s crib, what is placed in it and its surroundings. For instance:
- Dont leave extra-large stuffed toys in the crib or leave on the bumper pads your toddler can use these objects as a step to climb over the crib rail.
- Look for and remove objects with strings or ties that could accidentally end up wound around your child’s neck, such as cords on blinds or curtains.
- Look at any objects that might be too close to your child’s crib and that your child might be able to reach from a standing position such as wall hangings, curtains, window blinds and dresser doilies.
- If you have such an active toddler, for safety reasons it might be time to move him or her from a crib to a toddler bed.
- Consider anchoring large furniture to the walls to prevent them from falling over if your child tries to climb on them.
Physical Factors Can Disrupt Toddlers Sleep
Waking because of physical factors, such as teething, hunger, or pull-up wetting, could certainly wake a child early. However, the idea that waking could be affected by passing milestones like walking or making strides in language development is largely unfounded.
Theres not a lot of research proving thats the case. Especially with early-morning waking, says Moore. If kids have good sleep habits from the very beginning, like being able to self-soothe and go back to sleep on their own, developmental changes wont impact their sleep.
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Why Does My Teenager Stay Up All Night
Teens internal clocks are not set to the same time as those of adults in fact, their bodies typically dont start producing melatonin until around 11 p.m. This means that teens will naturally gravitate toward going to sleep lateror even staying up all nightand then waking late the next morning . The shift to a night-owl schedule typically starts around puberty and lasts until young adulthood.
Coping With Other Childhood Sleep Problems
In addition to daytime habits and bedtime routines, kids often experience other obstacles to getting a good nights sleep. Fear of the dark, bad dreams, night terrors, sleepwalking, and bed-wetting are other sleep problems that kids often struggle with. While most outgrow these problems quickly, there are plenty of ways you can address your childs sleep problems and ensure theyand youget a healthy nights rest.
Create A Cozy Environment
Its completely normal for toddlers, and children in general, to go through cycles of sleep where they are prone to night awakenings . These are the times when were generally awakened by our toddlers, who need our assistance to fall back asleep.
One way to combat this is to create a cozy environment where your toddler sleeps. This can be achieved by placing a subtle night light or a white noise machine in the bedroom. A comfortable bedroom might also encourage your little one to sleep on their own .
If you do choose to use a night light, make sure its dimmed. Darkness is essential for a restful sleep.
Consider blackout curtains or shades, particularly when living in a region where sunsets occur later than their bedtime. If light is still shining through the bedroom window, it can be challenging to fall asleep.
Finally, have your toddler wear comfortable, warm pajamas. If they tend to kick off the cover, this will prevent them from feeling cold and waking up. However, dress them according to the weather if its warm in the room, make sure they dont overheat.
Maternal And Child Health Nurse Visits Are Important
Victorian parents have free access to the Maternal and Child Health Service, which is a great support after your baby is born. Specially trained maternal and child health will work with your family to help you care for your child until they are ready to start school.As part of this service, you will visit a maternal and child health nurse in your local area at 10 key ages and stages in your childs development. These visits are important because they you an opportunity to identify and address any issues and concerns early in your childs development.
Visits take place:
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How Can I Help My Teen Get More Sleep
The same strategies that help adults get to sleep can be useful for teens. These include: a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine making sure the bedroom is cool and dark avoiding caffeine and large meals late in the evening and exercising consistently. It’s also critical that teens aren’t overscheduled and overworked too many extracurricular activities, combined with excessive schoolwork, may push even a tired teen to stay up late. Some evidence suggests that allowing teenagers to sleep in on weekends may help them catch up on lost sleep accrued during the week.
Preventing And Breaking Habits
Sleeping in parents bed Safe sleep practices for infants up to one year of age include room sharing without bed sharing. An infant under one year of age must sleep on his back in his own bed. If your older child has been sleeping in your bed, and you wish to change this, it may be a challenge to break the habit. It is better to put your baby to sleep in his own bed at a younger age when it is easier to teach him to sleep alone.
Develop and follow a regular bedtime routine – At the point in the routine when your child is sleepy, but not fully asleep, place him in his bed. He may fuss for a few minutes. You can check on him every few minutes to see if he is OK but leave him in his own bedfor several more rounds of fuss and check, letting the fussy periods last for 10 minutes at the most. Do not keep going into his room or let him see you, or you will condition him to expect you to keep coming back when he fusses. He will eventually fall asleep. The next night, allow the fussy periods to last a little longer. It will be frustrating at first, but for this to work, you must be persistent and consistent. If you are not successful after several weeks you may wish to stop this plan and try again in 4 to 6 weeks. This method is not for everyone, so ask your childs pediatrician for other options if needed.
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What Causes Poor Sleep For Kids
When it comes to sleep, youre in control. Its important for kids to get a proper amount of sleep every night because theyll be physically and mentally healthier when they do. In order to help your kids sleep better, its necessary to know what causes poor sleep. The most common causes are that the child is sick or scared, has too much on their plate, or isnt getting enough attention from parents. There are many things that can cause children to be restless, overactive, and not able to sleep well. To help your kids sleep better you should always make sure they have a healthy diet, a comfortable bed, and enough time in the day for exercise.
Make The Transition Exciting
Rather than springing a new bed on your toddler, get them excited by talking about it with animation.
Tell them how fun its going to be to have a grown-up bed like their parents. Get them involved if youre buying a toddler bed, and let them help pick out their bedding. Feeling like they have a say will make your toddler embrace the transition better.
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How Does Feeding Affect Sleep For Babies
There is some debate about how and whether the method of feeding affects a babys sleep. While some research has found more nighttime awakenings in babies who are breastfed, other studies have found little difference between sleep patterns of breastfed and formula-fed babies.
Overall, because of documented health benefits apart from sleep, the AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding for six months and then continuing with complementary breastfeeding for a year or more. Although not firmly established, there is some evidence that babies who are breastfed may have better sleep during their preschool years.
But Dont Make It Too Involved
Be aware that a too-long list of bedtime rituals makes it hard to go through the entire routine on nights when you get home late or youre short on time.
For my kids, bedtime was changing into pajamas and one story that would never end. Changing into pajamas and reading a story was done with lower lighting to create a calm mood.
As for tasks like taking a bath? They can be on a list I call Before bedtime tonight, we have to That way, its not officially part of the bedtime routine. So on nights when you just dont have time for a bath, you arent actually changing the bedtime routine.-Elisabeth Stitt
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