Sleep Problems in Children

Sleep Problems in ChildrenNormal sleep rhythm

Most newborns awake one to two times a night, but infants are sleeping all night until nine months. When a child is one year old, he/she will sleep at least 16 hours a day, of which two to three hours during the day.

After 18 months, children show great differences in sleeping time. Some small children need relatively little sleep, and they wake up early in the morning. Leave in your baby’s crib many non-dangerous toys so he/she can be entertained for a while and, at the same time, allowing you to sleep normally. Such a child is usually very active during the day, does not require much sleep during the day and is not tired until evening.

Until the third year, many children will reach the same stage and sleep rarely during the day. When they reach age of 5, almost all the children will be awake during the day.

How to beat insomnia

Do not spend much time with your baby at night because he will otherwise become dependent on your concern and may suffer from insomnia if you are denying him sleep. For example, you should not enter his room and raise him to his hands immediately  as soon as you hear him crying. Stay in front of the door and listen. In most cases the child will stop crying after a few minutes and sleep again. But, if the crying continues, you have to enter the room because the child may be ill or something is wrong. Do not put him in your bed if he wakes up at night as this can become a habit.

Some children sleep well at night, but it is not easy for them to fall asleep. In this case, make sure that no one is disturbing by the child (for example, an older brother or sister who is constantly entering and leaving the room). Also, never send the child to the bed as some form of penalty (in case he/she did something wrong). After a while, a child can associate a sleeping with a penalty and end up being afraid of going to bed, and when he is in bed, he will sleep badly.

What to do when a baby does not sleep

If, despite all the precautions, your baby is having difficulty while trying to fall asleep or wakes up too often at night, you may be tempted to ask your doctor for sedative (for the baby). (Never give your baby sleeping pills.) However, it is better to solve this problem with medication. The child can rely on them and gain the habit. The fact is that most children naturally ”outgrow” this discomfort after one or two months. However, if insomnia becomes permanent, talk to a doctor who can refer you to a psychiatrist.

Nightmares and sleepwalking

Nightmares usually become a problem after the fourth year of life. In most cases, nightmares occur due to an event that has disturbed the child or a scary story or some television show. Sometimes it is a sign that a child is under stress because of a problem at home or at school. They are almost never a consequence of some bodily illness except high temperatures. Some children suffer from so-called night fear; they usually scream, speak sprawling or incomprehensible, look frightened, and it is difficult to wake up and they can not tell what scared them. Sleepwalking is not a difficult disorder, but it can be another sign of nightmares. The best treatment for nightmares and night fear is parental comfort and encouragement. Try to get to your child as soon as possible, turn on the light and comfort him with words that it was ”just a dream”. Never ask what scared him because it can only aggravate the condition. Instead, distract him from what disturbed him and say him about something beautiful.

A child who has nightmares or fears, and does not wake up, will most likely sleep well. If the problem does not last, it is better not to wake up a child. It is best not to wake up a child who is sleepwalking, too. Instead, carefully take him back to bed. As soon as you find your child is sleepwalking, lock the doors leading to the stairs to prevent the child from falling. As soon as the child has become mature enough to understand what you want to talk about, it would be a good thing to talk to him about the nightmares or sleepwalking. Try to find out the problem that bothers him to eliminate it. If you do not succeed, and if nightmares and sleepwalking become serious problems, talk to a doctor who can send you and your child to talk with a psychiatrist.