What are child sleep disorders?
A health article about child sleep disorders from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Here we cover the most common sleep disorders that children will experience, and some sensible and natural home remedy sleep aids to help you all to sleep better every night.
Problems with sleep behaviors are commonly seen in children. Sleep is of primary importance at all stages of human development, and in the newborn, is the primary activity other than eating.
Childhood sleep disturbances affect not only the child but also the whole family. There is an abundance of different beliefs and lore on this topic. Sifting through the enormous amount of material, approaches, and opinions about kids' sleep can be daunting for parents.
There is not one correct way to deal with your child in regard to sleep. Each child is unique and has his own special set of circumstances and needs. What's important is for parents to identify what they feel comfortable with and what they feel is best for their child.
Just as parents pay attention to their children's general hygiene, they can also address their sleep hygiene. This can be made a pleasurable event.
This can help to establish life-long patterns of good sleep. It's much easier to prevent a sleep problem than to treat one.
The important daily sleep requirements in sleep hygiene is consistency. Bedtime should occur at the same time each night.
A regular habit of storytelling, reading a book, or talking about the day's events are often nightly rituals that parents can implement.
This can be a meaningful period of engagement for both the parent and the child.
Typical bedtime sequences take around 30 minutes. Often children engage in what has been referred to as "curtain call" behaviors.
These are behaviors by the child that delay separation from the parents before bedtime. Kids will often get up and say they need to go to the bathroom, or that they need to get a glass of water.
Sometimes these behaviors become problematic. I recommend children be asked to do these things for themselves. This avoids reinforcing these behaviors by granting more contact with the parents.
Common Child Sleep Disorders:
Different sleep difficulties tend to cluster around different ages. Before the age of three it is common for infants to have problems going to sleep and nighttime awakening.
Nightmares, fear of the dark, and night terrors usually begin to occur between ages 3-6, and sleepwalking usually has its onset after age 6.
Sleep problems appearing later and in adolescence are more frequently associated with underlying psychiatric disorders, drug abuse, or medical conditions like narcolepsy.
At what stage should kids sleep in their own beds?
There are different philosophies about children sleeping in the same bed as their parents. Western culture expects children to sleep alone from a very early age.
In non-Western cultures, families tend to sleep together for a much longer period of time. Parents generally have to decide what works for them and their lifestyle. This issue can sometimes be a source of conflict between parents.
The older a baby is when he is sleeping with his parents, the more difficulty they are likely to experience when making the transition from their bed to the child's own bed.
Kids generally love to sleep with their parents. Once used to this they can be quite resistant to changing. It's important for parents to be aware of the impact that this has on their own time for both sexual and emotional intimacy.
Infants sleeping alone often wake at night and fall back asleep without the parents being aware of the arousal. Some infants, as most parents know, cry upon awakening and this can become a regular and frequent habit.
The concerned parent may rush in to see that the child is okay and to provide comfort. If a healthy baby continuously awakens this can be a source of distress for the parents. One popular intervention is "Ferberizing."
This is a method popularized by Dr. Richard Ferber. Basically it involves letting the child continue to cry for increasingly longer periods of time without intervening.
The goal is to foster the child's ability to "self-sooth" or put themselves back to sleep. This is effective after a few days for many children.
However, some parents don't feel comfortable with what they perceive as a "cold turkey" approach. Parents need to do what they feel comfortable with and often do well with modified approaches.
I advise parents to try and not respond instantaneously to the child's awakening and crying. An instant response is likely to be gratifying to the child and increase the likelihood that this behavior will recur.
Frequently a baby will cry for 20-30 minutes and then fall back asleep. A timer is often useful to keep track of how long your child has been crying (20 minutes at 2 am can seem like 2 hours).
Children often respond rather quickly to methods like "Ferberizing." However, transitions, changes in environment, travel, and illnesses can causes these difficulties to recur.
Night Terrors versus Nightmares
Night terrors start to occur in the 3-5 age range, as well. Night terrors are distinct from nightmares. With night terrors, children will begin to scream and cry in the middle of the night but still be asleep.
These episodes are self-limited and it is best to hold the child, not attempt to awaken them, but comfort them until they have settled down again. Night terrors tend to run in families and usually resolve spontaneously.
At times the problem will be frequent and severe enough that medication is used.
Nightmares are frightening dreams that occur during REM sleep and awaken a child. They usually occur in the later part of the night. Most children have at least one nightmare during childhood; three percent of preschool and school aged children experience frequent nightmares, according to NSF’s 2004 Sleep in America poll.
They can be upsetting and a child will need reassurance when they occur. Nightmares can result from a scary event, stress, a difficult time or change in a child’s routine. Use of a nightlight or security object is often helpful.
Sleep terrors occur early in the night. A child may scream out and be distressed, although s/he is not awake or aware during a sleep terror.
Sleep terrors may be caused by not getting enough sleep, an irregular sleep schedule, stress, or sleeping in a new environment. Increasing sleep time will help reduce the likelihood of a sleep terror.
Insomnia is a sleep problem that occurs when a child complains of difficulty falling asleep, remaining asleep, and/or early morning awakenings. Insomnia can be short-term due to stress, pain, or a medical or psychiatric condition.
It can become long-term if the underlying cause is not addressed or healthy sleep practices are not employed.
Treating underlying conditions, developing good sleep practices and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can improve the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder that includes uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings (e.g. crawly tingly or itchy) in the legs causing an overwhelming urge to move.
These feelings make it difficult to fall asleep. RLS can be treated with changes in bedtime routines, increased iron, and possibly medications.
Snoring occurs when there is a partial blockage in the airway that causes a noise due to the vibration of the back of the throat.
About l0-12 percent of normal children habitually snore. Snoring can be caused by nasal congestion or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that block the airway. Some children who snore may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea – when snoring is loud and the child is having difficulty breathing, it may be a sign of a more serious disorder, obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep caused by blocked airway passages, resulting in repeated arousals from sleep.
Sleep apnea has been associated with daytime sleepiness, academic problems, and hyperactivity. Treatment for sleep apnea is available.
Sleeptalking occurs when the child talks, laughs or cries out in his/her sleep. As with sleep terrors, the child is unaware and has no memory of the incident the next day. There is usually no need to treat sleeptalking.
Sleepwalking is experienced by as many as 40 percent of children, usually between ages three and seven.
Sleepwalking usually occur an hour or two after sleep onset and may last five to 20 minutes. As sleep deprivation often contributes to sleepwalking, moving bedtime earlier can be helpful.
Sleepwalking, like night terrors, tends to run in families. This problem emerges more frequently sometime after age 6.
A child can get up and walk around while still in a sleep state.
At times, the child can open doors and go outside. When the problem is this severe and can possibly endanger the child, medication is used.
Generally the child should be led back to bed without attempting to awaken him.
Sleepwalking tends to spontaneously resolve.
Click on the link to learn more about specific sleep disorders in-depth, and their natural home remedies as well as treatments that may be required.
Self Care strategies for Living with child sleep disorders
Pointers for parents:
Talk to your child’s doctor if any of the following symptoms are observed:
• A child is having problems breathing or breathing is noisy.
• A child snores, especially if snoring is loud.
• Unusual nighttime awakenings.
• Difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep, especially if you see daytime sleepiness and/or behavioral problems.
If you regularly have to wake your child in the morning, it could be a sign that he or she isn’t getting enough sleep. The number of hours a toddler sleeps will be different for each child. However, most toddlers are consistent in how much they sleep from one day to the next.
Build a regular bedtime routine everyone enjoys.
For a toddler, this could include:
Taking a bath
Changing into pajamas
Reading books together
Sharing a song
Or whatever works best for you and your toddler
Your toddler’s sleep patterns will continue to change. Toddlers can generally sleep through the night, although change and stressful events (a trip or illness, for example) can cause temporary setbacks.
All children wake briefly at regular intervals throughout the night. A toddler who’s learned to fall asleep on his or her own will be able to return to sleep in the middle of the night without help from you—although normal bedtime fears and nightmares may need your reassurance.
Set a regular sleep schedule.
Establish regular naptimes and a bedtime that allow your toddler to get all the sleep he or she needs. Restricting naps won’t help a toddler sleep better at night.
Quite the opposite—it can lead to overtiredness and more sleep problems. But avoid naps late in the afternoon.
Many babies become fussy or cry when they get tired, but others will rub their eyes, pull on their ears, or even stare off into space. Put your baby down for bedtime or a nap when your baby first lets you know he or she is tired.
Wind down your routine where your child sleeps.
Make sure the last few soothing minutes of the bedtime routine happen right in your toddler’s room.
Give your toddler soothing surroundings.
Keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet. A night-light is fine. A television isn’t. And make sure the environment is the same at bedtime—lighting, for example—as it will be throughout the night.
Put your child to bed drowsy but awake.
This may teach your toddler to fall asleep, as well as to go back to sleep in the night on his or her own, with little if any help from you.
Whatever routine you have established at bedtime will need to occur again if your child wakes in the middle of the night. So create a routine that helps your child fall asleep on his or her own.
If your child stalls at bedtime, set clear limits, such as how many books you will read or how many drinks of water you will allow.
Make sleep a family priority.
Remember, looking after a toddler takes plenty of energy. You need your sleep, too.
Sleep Tips for Toddlers:
• Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
• Make the bedroom environment the same every night and throughout the night.
• Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced.
• Encourage use of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal.
Click on the link to learn more about specific sleep disorders in-depth, and their natural home remedies as well as treatments that may be required.
Diet change strategies:
There are certain foods which improve our sleep. These foods are rich in trytophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic and lulls us into restful sleep. Eating carbohydrates rich in trytophan makes this calming amino acid more available to brain.
Foods containing trytophan that aid sleep are
. Sesame seeds
Tip: Avoid eating junk food and highly refined food at night because fibre-rich food increases serotonin availability, but processed carbs over stimulates insulin, which leads to disturbed sleep.
Other Bed time snacks can include:
. Whole grain cereal with milk
. Sesame seeds
. Oatmeal or raisin cookies
Tip: Lighter meals are more likely to give you a good night's sleep.
So that old-fashioned glass of warm milk or cocoa before bed seems to have a foundation in fact!
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
‘Studies have shown a link between Vitamin B12 and other health conditions including insomnia. The body requires vitamin B12 to manufacture red blood cells and myelin. Myelin is the fatty lining around nerve cells. There has been a great deal of research into the effectiveness of vitamin B12 injections and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin B12 is a part of the natural diet of most of the Western countries, with the exceptions of Vegans. The vitamin is found in significant amounts in animal protein-foods including meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products. The small amounts of vitamin B12 present in these different foods are more than enough to provide a supply for a healthy diet.
Vegans, on the other hand, especially strict Vegans who do not allow any of these Vitamin B12 source foods into their diets, will eventually develop a dietary deficiency. The deficiency usually takes years to develop and B12 supplements can stave off that effect.
Vitamin B12 acts along with folic acid and vitamin b6 to control different levels in the body. A deficiency can cause fatigue, whereas those who are not deficient may feel a significant energy boost upon taking additional B12.
Vitamin B12 injections have been used to treat sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Injections of 2,500 to 5,000 milligrams every two to three days has shown a significant improvement in the energy levels of those suffering from CFS. B12 deficiencies are not common and they are usually related to diet or malapsorption through the intestines. Both of which are treatable with dietary adjustments.
Doctor's recommend that vitamin supplements be used as a regular part of a healthy diet. Vitamin supplements whether including the B12 complex or otherwise, should not be used as the replacement for a healthy diet unless there is a total absence of the vitamin such as found in Vegan's dietary concerns.
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your jet lag sleep disorders problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
You may find benefit from our information on detoxification
As well as about detoxing because of change of diet
It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells.
There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?
It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate. We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
More Resources available about child sleep disorders :
Good quality sleep is a habit. If you make the changes above, don’t expect changes in your sleep pattern to occur overnight, give it time. And be forgiving of yourself. Nothing prevents a good nights sleep more than the increased sense of annoyance at not being able to go to sleep. So quit trying, get up and do something relaxing.
daily sleep requirements
It’s a basic necessity of life, as important to our health and well-being as air, food and water.
When we sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face daily challenges.
When we don’t meet our daily sleep requirements, every part of our lives can suffer.
Our jobs, relationships, productivity, health and safety (and that of those around us) are all put at risk.
In general, there are three levels of energy level, hyperthymic, even balanced and hypothymic. To figure out in which energy do you fall in, answer the following questions.
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Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Ekbom’s syndrome is a misunderstood common condition which causes the legs and sometimes the arms to twitch just before going to sleep; this can cause problems with insomnia Around one in twenty people suffer from restless legs syndrome (RLS) during their life, it tends to affect women more than men especially pregnant women and middle aged women, other groups that tend to suffer from restless legs syndrome (RLS) are those suffering from kidney disease, nerve diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and varicose veins
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Natural Sleep Aids & better sleep Tips
Free simple sleep aid recipes, therapies and how-to instructions for better sleep using massage, aromatherapy, oils, herbs, baths, comfort drinks, dream meanings, healthy sleep routines.... AND MORE.
Jet lag sleep disorder
One common problem with jet lag is that, for many people, the true effects of jet lag are not immediately apparent and it may take a day or two to "catch up" with you. In addition, the excitement of arriving at your holiday destination, or for an important business meeting, may also tend to mask the symptoms of jet lag. So, if you arrive at your destination feeling like a million dollars and throw yourself into your holiday or business activities - beware! Jet lag will almost certainly creep up and hit you on the back of the head just when you least expect it.
Statistics show that about 45% of adult’s snores from time to time while around 25% snores regularly. This is mostly considered as a problem that needs some intervention or treatment.
Generally, snoring is most common in men than women. Overweight people show more tendencies to snore than those within normal weight. Age appears to aggravate the situation as well.
Sleep apnea, sleep apnoea or sleep apnœa is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These episodes, called apneas (literally, "without breath"), each last long enough so one or more breaths are missed, and occur repeatedly throughout sleep. The standard definition of any apneic event includes a minimum 10 second interval between breaths, with either a neurological arousal (3-second or greater shift in EEG frequency, measured at C3, C4, O1, or O2), or a blood oxygen desaturation of 3-4 percent or greater, or both arousal and desaturation. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram.
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What is a Sleep IQ Test?
The following true or false statements test what you know about sleep. Be sure to discuss the answers with your healthcare provider.
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