Most parents heave a sigh of relief when their babies leave the stage that requires them to wake up several times a night to take care of their needs. However, there are other sleep problems associated with older kids.
Gregory Stores, a professor of developmental neuropsychiatry from University of Oxford in Britain says that most parents assume that their children are problem free after they sleep soundly. He adds that at least a quarter of children of school-going age experience nightmares while in deep sleep.
Kids, depending on their age bracket, should sleep at least nine hours to keep their parents sane. This is because the kids not only get cranky but also get aggressive and tend to get wired easily, they also forget things due to poor focus which leads to poor problem solving skills. Since growth hormones are mostly secreted at night, enough slumber cannot be over emphasized.
Here are expert tips for common sleep related conditions
Apnea is a sleep condition that interferes with your child’s sleep by causing them to stop breathing briefly at some point during sleep. This can happen several times in one night which causes them to awaken every time hindering them from getting enough sleep.
A recent study reveals that a small fraction of school going children experience mild apnea often associated with sinus infections. 1% go through severe apnea due to obesity which is also linked to apnea in adults, tonsils or adenoids that are oversized are however the main causes here.
Signs: Breathing noisily or snoring, torso moving rapidly with head thrown back attempting to get more air should raise thered flag.
Diagnose: Take your kid to a sleep lab. Treatment can be as easy as removing the pestering tonsils or adenoids, medicating sinuses by introducing pillows to elevate the head or even getting rid of obesity in your kid.
School going kids experience anxiety too linked to things like being bullied or unpopular, getting poor grades or even the pressure of trying to please everyone. Fran Walfish, a paediatric psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, CA says that real life disasters like fires and accidents can also be contributing factors. Also, weaning kids off sleeping with their parents can cause them sleepless nights due to the novelty of the situation.
Signs: Baby looks tired and sleepy with no interest in sleeping or suddenly they start crying and complaining of something or the other.
Diagnosis: Be gentle and understanding and encourage them to write down their anxieties in a journal. Talk to them about their fears in the morning. Consult a paediatrician if it doesn’t get better.
Parents have woken up to burglar alarms going off fearing the worse for them to discover that their kid is sleepwalking. Come morning, the kid does not even remember the events of the previous night. This condition can go on for years and requires sensitive monitoring to avoid danger befalling such a kid.
Signs: The Kid is always sleepwalking in the middle of the night or the condition runs in the family.
Diagnosis: Gently return them to bed; the situation gets better with age. Ensure the floor is uncluttered to avoid tripping and falling.
Things to do before bedtime
- Always stick to a regular sleeping schedule (both sleeping and waking up)
- Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch.
- Limit the use of cell phones long before bed.
- Avoid scary movies which can induce nightmares.
- Maintain soothing routines like a warm bath or glass of milk before bed. Reading them a book is also a healthy routine.