Child Insomnia- Things you need to know.

Here we try to teach you more about childhood insomnia and a few tips to help.

Insomnia is when a person has trouble getting to sleep and it is a disruption of the sleep cycle that includes difficulties staying asleep and early morning awakenings. In children, insomnia can last a few nights or can potentially become long term, perhaps lasting weeks.
Children with insomnia is usually caused by not having a good bedtime routine. Like adults, children with insomnia either have trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or are simply not well rested after what should be a normal amount of time sleeping.
Here we try to teach you more about childhood insomnia and a few tips to help.
Symptoms of childhood insomnia can include:
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeplessness throughout the day
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depressed mood
  • Aggressiveness
  • A decline in attention span
  • Memory problems

Common Causes of Childhood Insomnia are:

  • Children not getting enough sleep, as they go to bed too late. It is advised that children require 10-11 hours’ sleep per night though teenagers require less, the optimum being 9 hours sleep per night. 
  • Over scheduled kids in after school activities and events or occasions. This decreases a child’s ability to relax and wind down in time for bed.
  • Too much homework especially in teenagers is a common problem. It reduces their amount of time left to purely chill out and therefore, by bedtime they are too alert to go to sleep quickly.
  • Watching too much TV is another issue, it is advised that kids read before bed to encourage them to calm down quietly before falling into a beautiful slumber.
  • Sitting on technology devices is a huge problem as kids that are in bed, sit on devices and stay tuned in to the internet, games or social media. Hours can pass before a child/teen will realise it is the middle of the night. If parents are not aware or supervising their device usage this will amplify the problem greatly.
  • Stress or anxiety is commonly associated with any sleep disorders. Bullying, exams, tests, peer pressure and family problems can all play a role in insomnia. Children are not unlike adults and will find bedtime the hardest time to deal with any issues as they are not busy at that point. This will interrupt their sleep immensely.
  • Caffeine or too much sugar can be a cause of insomnia in children. Teenagers are turning to caffeine drinks to keep them alert, so they can complete their work and children may have sugar riddled diets that gives them some energy for a short period of time.
  • Health problems such as Eczema (itching), Asthma (coughing at night) and Depression (feelings of worthlessness) all factor in if a child is struggling to sleep and stay asleep. Talking to your doctor is advised if a medical issue is causing sleep problems.

Things to do:

  • Cut out distractions, bad habits and encourage a good sleep routine from a young age.
  • Take away devices at night and remove television from your child’s bedroom.
  • Discuss any personal problems such as bullying, family problems or peer pressure. Stay connected to your child.
  • Reduce sugar and caffeine in your child’s diet.
  • Make your home quiet and relaxed before and after bedtime.
  • Keep working on it and encourage your child to stay in bed and once you break the habit, a good sleep routine should continue on the right foot.
  • See a doctor if the problem persists. 

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