Sleeping Problems Explained and How to Deal With Them
When babies are born, babies get to learn a pattern of sleep where they spend several hours asleep even during the day, and with the time that gradually changes into a few daytime naps and longer sleeping periods during the night. However, some children have difficulties falling asleep even at night or sleeping through the night, which may persist even after attaining the school-going age. The situation may even be more difficult o common in children with autism, and most of them experience the following:
- Issues falling asleep
- No sleeping patterns
- Spend most of the time being restless
- Frequent waking up at night as well as waking up earlier than the normal time
If you have a child or know someone with a child who experiences a sleep disorder, it is important to inform them that they do not have to continue with the experience as there are different ways to address the issue. One of the causes of lack of sleep in children with autism is the ability to interpret things correctly due to the problem with communication. Most children with autism lack the power of effective communication and therefore experience problems interpreting normal actions like routine preparation to go to bed.
How Do I Know If My Child Has a Sleep Disorder?
Children who experience sleep problems show different signs as well as other issues related to sleep. You will know that your child has a sleep disorder if you experience any of the above-stated situations or if you see any of the following reactions:
- Parasomnias like sleepwalking
- Sleep apnea
- Bedtime resistance and many others
Tips to Help your Child Sleep Better
Help from a Psychologists
One of the ways of helping your child with a sleep disorder is to talk to a psychologist about bright light therapy. The therapy involves exposing the child at intervals to bright light in the morning as that may help regulate the release of melatonin in the body which may allow them stay awake during the day and sleep during the night.
Help From a Pediatrician
It is important to ask your pediatrician about giving your child some dietary supplements just before bedtime. One of the commonly used dietary supplements is melatonin, which regulates people's sleep and helps them overcome jet lag. Melatonin can help normalize sleep-wake cycles.
Create an Ideal Sleep Environmen
It is important to keep your child's bedroom cool, dark and quiet to avoid distractions during bedtime. Keeping dark curtains eliminates direct light exposure in the bedroom during the night. For school-going children, it is important to discourage them from doing any other activities in the bed like using electronics. Also, avoid caffeine or anything that can translate into sleep disruptions.
Establish a Good Sleeping Routine
Another important thing to help your child with sleep disorder is establishing a good bedtime routine. Let your child follow a sleep/awake schedule and teach your child to fall asleep alone. It is important to avoid lying down with your child to help them fall asleep. If your child get used to your presence before falling sleep, he/she can be unable to sleep unless you lie down with them. Instead, establish a night time routine like bathing your child or reading a story. Keep your visit to their bedroom minimal and brief.
Incorporate Healthy Habits
Practicing healthy habits during the day translates to healthy sleep at night. These include regular exercises for older children and adequate stimulation for infants, ensuring that the child does not skip meals.
If you suspect anxiety in your child, use some relaxation strategies like deep breathing, warm bath, soft music, and use of audiobooks or tell stories. Also, teach the child to practice deep breathing to ensure they relax well as part of the bedtime routine.