Insomnia in Children
Child insomnia is a condition that arises when children do not sleep on time until they are forced to do so. If children are put to sleep at the right time, they fall asleep normally but if they do not follow strict bedtimes, they may stay awake for much longer hours during the night.
Children with insomnia may face the following:
- When they are forced to bed, they have no problems falling asleep
- When they are not forced to bed, they stay awake for a long extent as much as they can
- They wander around the house or frequently drink water during bedtime
Children with this condition push their parents so that they follow this pattern while the parents hardly realize the problem within and later wonder how it started.
To start with, consider setting a strict bed time and do not encourage your child to drink water or tell tales beyond this time. Once they get into bed, they should stay there till morning. When a bed time is enforced, the disorder should automatically stop. So the need for a doctor at this point is not really necessary. You just have to ensure that you do not get carried away with the little tricks your child plays to postpone sleep.
In case you want to discuss this issue with your doctor, keep a diary with complete details of the child’s sleep pattern. You also need to note down the times at which your son/daughter wakes up at night. Maintain this diary for two weeks and list down the different ways he/she tries to keep awake. You also need to include your reaction to the child’s needs since the doctor should know whether you allow your child to wake up and drink water ten times during the night. Based on these details, the doctor will know how to treat the child’s disorder.
Tests are generally not required to identify child insomnia. It can be understood with the history of the child’s sleep pattern, i.e., the time the child sleeps or wakes up. Only for extreme cases, an actigraph may be used, a kind of wrist-watch which records when a person is sleeping or awake. This is barely required.
The best treatment for child treatment is to set very strict bed times which will provide an improved and quality sleep pattern for the child. If you have set 08:00pm, then you must ensure that your child is in bed at 08:00pm.
Do not allow your child to give excuses so that they can postpone their sleep. The firmer you are the more you and your child will benefit.
It is important not to rock children to sleep because once they get accustomed to sleeping on being rocked; they will always expect the same. Their sleep pattern will change in a way that they will only fall asleep if rocked. This will affect the child as well as the parent since the parent will also wake up each time the child wakes up and both end up with a much disrupted sleep.
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