Sleep Disorders In Youngsters Could Be More Problematic Than You Think
It can be easy to assume that your little one is getting enough sleep, particularly if they are waking while you are asleep; however, it is not uncommon for kids to have problems falling asleep, or staying asleep, just as adults do. Insomnia in children and teenagers might not be a majority issue, but with more than twenty-five percent suffering from these disorders, it’s difficult to avoid worrying. Medical News Today breaks down these disorders into different classes, and explains parasomnias in the following way: “It is estimated that up to 6.5% of children – particularly those aged 4-12 years – experience night terrors, defined as episodes of intense fear, screaming and flailing during sleep. Approximately 3% of preschool and school-aged children experience nightmares, while up to 15% of children aged 4-12 years sleepwalk.”
Other issues fall into categories such as standard insomnia or sleep apnea, which can cause loud snoring and an actual halt in breathing during sleep. Unfortunately, some of these disorders are more easy to recognize than others, and children may not be able verify whether they are having sleepless nights if it is obstructive sleep apnea that is the issue.
How Your Child’s Sleeping Patterns Affect Your Child
Just as you might find it difficult to focus at the office when you haven’t had a full night’s sleep, your child is having difficulty at school and home with concentration. He or she may not have the energy that they normally do to participate in afterschool activities, their attitudes may change to reflect lack of sleep, making them seem agitated, disoriented, depressed, or cause a change in appetite. While many parents would easily pick up on these changes, no matter how minor, it can be difficult at first to diagnose what is the cause of the symptoms. Even medical professionals may have trouble recognizing the symptoms as sleep related at first glance, although as the severity of sleep disorders among children becomes more recognized as a serious problem across America and the world, it is getting easier to treat those who suffer. Web MD expresses: “Children and adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep per night. Sleep problems and a lack of sleep can have negative effects on children’s performance in school, during extracurricular activities, and in social relationships.”
Some of the reasons for this change in the sleeping patterns of minors may have resulted from a variety of stimuli including changes in nutrition and eating times, disruptive bedtime behavior such as television or stereo noise in the bedroom at night.
Creating A More Stable Routine
While there are some medications and other treatments that doctors may prescribe in order to help a child develop more successful patterns of sleep, natural methods tend to be best, especially with younger children. Kids of all ages can suffer from sleep disorders, and this includes those from toddler ages to teenagers. The National Association Of School Psychologists states: “Some sleep disturbances are mild, fairly common, and fairly easy to treat. Others may be more stubborn, or they may be signs of potential physical problems that could have long-term consequences if left untreated.”
Fortunately, there are ways that you can ease help your child regain some normalcy, and this works best when attempted at a steady rate of routine. By establishing a night time routine, you help your little one to associate certain behaviors with bedtime. Things like a nightly bath, story time, and brushing teeth can take some of the guess work out of feeling tired, when he or she starts this series of activities it will be obvious that bedtime is in the near future.
Many experts make the suggestion that in order to keep children from associating their bedrooms or beds with wakefulness, that it is a good idea to keep playtime, reading time, and television time out of the bedroom. By keeping associations of the bed with sleep rather than activities that stimulate your child, you can help them control the concept of sleep time and their bedroom being one. Similarly, if you have a little one who still naps, it is a good idea to keep naptime in the bedroom, rather than allowing children to rest on the living room furniture, or sleep in a playpen.
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