It can be difficult but far from unusual when your baby is fussy about sleeping. Waking up in the night isn’t out of character, but as your baby grows up into a toddler, how do you determine when they’re having problems with sleep? It can be difficult getting children to fall asleep when they should, but if they’re also dealing with sleeping problems like insomnia, that’s a whole new issue. Read on to find out ways to help your child to stay asleep and appreciate the night. 

The Case of Insomnia

Just like with adults, children can experience insomnia: trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, oftentimes waking up multiple times throughout the night. They’ll feel groggy and unrested in the morning, and can experience mood swings, such as irritability, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, depressed mood, and memory problems. For the most part, these symptoms are due to the lack of proper sleep your child receives, and leads to problems retaining information or staying awake during the day. For some older children, it can be difficult to get them to go to bed when they should, but physicians recommend a lot more sleep for your growing children than most parents realize. If your child is between six and thirteen years of age, they need roughly 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night. If your child is a teen, they would need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. 

For older children, the reasons they can’t fall asleep and stay asleep can be related to their specific stressors. They could be experiencing anxiety, bullying, stress, and a myriad array of other issues that could be causing them to have difficulty sleeping. Even some medications can cause insomnia, as well as certain developmental disabilities. Knowing what’s going on in your older child’s life can help you understand what’s going on with their sleep patterns as well, and make it easier to find solutions.

What You Can Do

When you’re a parent, you want wants best and fastest for your child to end any discomfort or issues. But when dealing with insomnia and sleep issues, medications are typically the fastest form of relief, but not always the best option. Knowing what’s going on in your child’s life and what could be potentially causing these issues is your best option. This allows you to naturally find solutions that may not just add layers to your child’s difficulties in life overall. For instance, if they have asthma and that’s causing their insomnia, maybe they need their asthma medication increased or a change in routine to help keep their asthma under control and get a better sleep. Or if they are stressed or anxious about a school project and can’t fall asleep, then being a support for them through the project’s length can potentially help them become calm enough to sleep through the night. Making sure they stop activities 30-60 minutes before bedtime can help as well, as most children are glued to some device right up until bedtime. 

Understanding the why behind your child’s insomnia can help you discover how to treat it properly.   

Katie Kyzivat

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