April 24, 2008

Treating Sleep Problems in Children

by Joe Rodgers

Sleep disorders in children are normally much different from the sleeping disorders that trouble adults. Studies have shown that children who don't get enough sleep at night will often make up for it in class, won't have the energy to exercise and will experience depression like feelings.
Common Symptoms of a sleep disorder are nightmares, bedwetting, and sleepwalking, so parents should know what to look for and address these issues. If you are worried about your children's sleeping habits, then we've got some valuable advice on getting them into a consistent sleep schedule that will increase their quality of life.

New parents are often very concerned about how much sleep their baby is getting. Newborn infants do not have regular sleep schedules and sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours per day. However, they might only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time. As children mature, the total number of hours they need for sleep decreases. A pre-school child might still require 10 to 12 hours of sleep daily, compared to a school aged child sleeps about 10 hours each day. It is important to understand that each child's sleeping cycle can be unique.

It is more probable that a child who has a sleeping disorder will most likely develop behavioral and attention problems in school. A recent study indicated that 37% of school aged children experience significant, nocturnal sleeping issues. Problems may include a reluctance to go to sleep, disrupted sleep, nightmares, and sleepwalking. In more mature children, bedwetting can also become an obstacle. Sleep problems are also common in kids with ADHD. It is important to try and figure out if these problems, especially if your child has difficulty falling asleep, are a side effect of any ADHD medication he or she might be taking.

Sleeping problems in children can no doubt be resolved if a regular sleep cycle is followed to ensure that your child gets enough rest. Start by establishing a quiet time before bedtime. This is a good time to read a story or take a bath. By winding down, your child will be able to fall asleep quicker. Once the body adjusts to a set routine, he or she is more likely to be sleepy at the same time every night. If your child suffers from night terrors or nightmares, then make them more comfortable by keeping a night light on in the room and allowing him to sleep with a favorite toy. Physical comfort, such as a firm sleep foundation is also suggested to get a good night of sleep, as well as roomy and cozy pajamas.

Children learn from example, so follow a regular sleep schedule yourself. If your child's symptoms persist, then consider seeing a sleep specialist. Sometimes sleep problems in children can be caused by depression or other anxiety disorders. However, remember that each child is unique. If they're energetic and active during the day, then don't worry if they have a sleepless night every now and again.

To find additional information on sleeping disorders visit www.sleepingdisorderfacts.com