Sleep is human body’s default repair and healing mechanism against all damages, wear and tear that the body is subjected to. When sleeping pattern is disrupted, it can create a number of health problems and disturbs daily work and energy. Sleeping disorders are not necessarily limited to adults- even kids can be affected by such conditions. Kids and teens of various ages can suffer from sleeping disorders and if unattended, it can affect their health and mental stability adversely.
Basics of sleeping disorders in kids
As it is, kids can develop various types of sleeping disorders apart from regular insomnia under various situations. These are:
- Intrinsic sleeping disorders- Includes excessive sleeping, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring.
- Extrinsic sleep disorders- Includes food allergy insomnia, inadequate sleep hygiene etc.
- Parasomnias- Includes sleepwalking, sleep talking, infant sleep apnoea.
Effects of sleep disorders in kids
The impact of sleep disorder can vary from one child to another and at times it may be hard for parents to realize the problem is being caused by sleeping disorders. The most commonplace symptoms and effects include:
- Poor memory coupled with concentration issues
- Emotional distress
- Lethargy in activities performed during daytime
Ways to resolve sleeping disorders in children
The remedy for resolving sleeping disorders in children depends on factors like age of the child, the root cause and related health conditions in most instances. Below listed are some effective methods:
- Regularity in sleeping– At times, the kids may suffer from sleeping disorders or insomnia simply because they do not follow a regular schedule for falling asleep. Watching TV at late night or indulging in PC games till late hours can be the reasons. At times, parents fail to realize their lifestyle and erratic work schedule is taking a toll on kids and affecting their sleeping pattern. To resolve this, set a routine of falling asleep for kids and ensure they stick to them. This may be introduced gradually.
- Relaxing activities before bedtime-It is important that your kids get the chance to indulge in relaxing activities before sleeping. Giving them a cup of warm milk or reading a story may help. On some days, you may give them a bath before hitting the bed. You may play soothing music tracks that induce sleep in kids. Some kids also fall asleep when watching fairy tale flicks.
- Discard sources of distraction– Ensure the bedroom of your kids do not have sources of any distraction that can keep them awake till late. Do not keep phone, any sound producing device in the room when they sleep. For same reasons do not keep the TV, PC and devices that produce sound in the room. Ensure the pillows and bedding are soft and comfortable enough. If they sleep in your bedroom, ensure the ambience is just right for them to fall asleep soon. The room should be dark and temperature should be comfortable as well.
- Right type of meal– What you offer the kids in dinner can also have an impact on their sleeping pattern. It is not a good idea to offer them beverages with caffeine a few hours before hitting the bed. Similarly, the dinner should not be heavy. Children may find digesting heavy meals before sleeping at night difficult.
- Make the rooms and interior silent– Sound can be the biggest source of the problem for kids when they want to sleep. If you want to see late night TV shows, either reduce the volume or use a wireless headset. The same can be said about PC users who work at late night at home.
- Light post dinner activity– Some parents indulge in light indoor games with their kids after having dinner. This can be a good idea to induce sleep, but do not go overboard. The kids become less prone to fall asleep with too much activity. Keep the activities limited to half an hour or so.
If the aforesaid methods do not bring any improvement and sleeping disorders continue to affect your kids, it is time you seek medical help. At times, the root of sleeping problems in kids may not be perceptible to parents and a medical professional can help.