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Insomnia In Children: 9 Easy Tips To Overcome Sleep Problems In Children And Teenagers

Insomnia In Children: 9 Easy Tips To Overcome Sleep Problems In Children And Teenagers
Insomnia In Children: 9 Easy Tips To Overcome Sleep Problems In Children And Teenagers

Is your child not sleeping enough? It can have a severe impact on their mental and physical growth. Read on to know from the experts on how to deal with serious sleep disorders.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : April 26, 2023 9:51 AM IST

Achieving sufficient sleep is crucial especially in the case of children as it helps them to improve their learning ability, enhances their memory power, helps them perform better academically, and boosts general well-being during the development stages. However, unfortunately, not every child gives their body this required amount of sleep, which is one of the major causes of the rise in insomnia in children. Studies indicate that at least 25 per cent of children suffer from sleep-related problems such as insomnia, a disorder where a person experiences situations such as difficulty in falling asleep, getting an unbroken night's rest, or waking up earlier than usual along with difficulty in going back to sleep.

We spoke to Dr Savitha S, Additional Professor, Dept of Psychiatry, Kasturba Medical College, MAHE - Manipal, to understand how lack of sleep affects children and teenagers, and what are the easy ways to overcome sleep disorders or problems. Read on to know what the doctor has suggested the kids and their parents to do.

How Much Sleep Is Needed By The Body To Function Better?

The ideal amount of sleep required for children varies according to their age. While babies below one year of age require 12 16 hours of sleep every day, children from 1-2 years require 12 16 hours of sleep whereas children from 3-5 years require 10-13 years and children from 6-12 years require 9-12 hours followed by teenagers with an average 8-10 years.

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What Are The Causes of Insomnia?

Insomnia in children is a primary condition that results due to varying conditions. One of the common reasons behind insomnia may be anxiety due to enhanced emotional arousal. In these situations, it is important to limit the intake of coffee or caffeine products in the child's diet along with alcohol and drugs for teenagers.

Another reason behind insomnia can be the sleep environment since children are extremely sensitive when it comes to their sleeping conditions such as a particular type of lighting or temperature. Too much screen time or routine illnesses may often pose difficulties in achieving sleep. In certain cases, children under medication or undergoing emotional and psychiatric illnesses such as depression, ADHD, and neurodevelopmental problems have insomnia as a prominent symptom.

Sometimes, a change in the routine or environment may induce stress and anxiety resulting in insomnia. Insomnia may normalize by itself when the child adjusts to the changes however the pattern may persist if not handled wisely.

Childhood Insomnia: Can We Reverse It?

Dr Savitha says that the condition can be reversed with proper care and management. "The positive takeaway about childhood insomnia is that it is treatable. In cases of primary insomnia, maintaining good sleep hygiene and reducing parental involvement by setting adequate limits is crucial. In these cases, parents should establish sleep time rules which should be strictly followed by the child. However, in secondary cases like emotional, or medical disorders or if the child is under medications, it is essential to consult the treating doctor for suggestions on treating the condition," said Dr Savitha.

Tips To Overcome Sleep Problems In Kids

Listed below are the measures which should be implemented by parents to reverse insomnia-

  1. Ensure that the child maintains a healthy diet and has adequate sun exposure.
  2. Regular physical exercises are important to stay active throughout the day. Daytime naps are to be avoided.
  3. The child should have an early satisfying evening meal. After 5 pm, coffee or any other stimulating drink after 5 pm.
  4. A fixed bedtime should be introduced that the child can religiously adhere to.
  5. Screen exposure in the form of loud music, reading thrillers, etc must be prohibited at least two hours before bedtime.
  6. If possible, drinking a cup of warm milk can be practised before bedtime as it often aids sleep.
  7. In case of anxiety or high emotional arousal, relaxation training in the form of progressive muscle relaxation, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, etc can be
  8. implemented to help control insomnia.

In conclusion, insomnia can inflict worry on the parents as well as the child. Parents need to remain vigilant to recognize the signs and symptoms in the early stages. If these practices are not helping your child sleep better, please consider medical assistance.

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