- 3 mins
Childhood Insomnia – Healthy Habits to Help Your Little One Sleep
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Often, people with insomnia overcome the issue in time. It can be difficult, and even frustrating, as caregivers when our child is struggling to good night’s rest. If you notice your child struggling with sleep multiple times a week for a consistent period of time, they could be struggling with childhood insomnia.
The phrase childhood insomnia sounds scary, but in reality, it’s a very common sleep problem for kids – along with night terrors, bedwetting and the fear of the dark or monsters. We want our children to be fully functioning and able to absorb as much of life as possible when they’re awake; but in order to do this, they need adequate sleep.
Check out our blog, 7 Signs Your Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep, to discover how much sleep your little one should be getting and the signs of sleep deprivation to look out for.
Causes of insomnia in kids
Many of these childhood sleep issues are linked to their daytime activities and nightly routines (things that are easily changeable!).
That’s right, kids experience stress, too! Whether it be school-related or family-related, feelings of stress and anxiety can make it difficult for kids to fall asleep at night.
Caffeine and Sugar
Too much caffeine and sugar, especially in the evenings, can result in spiked energy levels in children.
Too much energy
Outside of caffeine and sugar, kids who aren’t overly active during the day might still have pent-up energy levels when bedtime rolls around.
There are healthy technology habits for children, but too much blue light can block your child’s natural melatonin production – meaning they won’t be receiving sleepy signals from their brain at bedtime.
Ways to overcome childhood insomnia
Ensure their bed is only for sleep
A bed should be a safe space, meant only for relaxation and sleep. If your child associates their bed with time-outs, homework or anxious thoughts, then it may be difficult for them to relax when bedtime comes around. If they wake in the night due to stress and are finding it difficult to sleep, create a space in their room – separate from their bed – for them to go to until they feel sleepy again. Make it a comfortable and relaxing space where they can do a calming activity like reading or listening to soothing music.
Set a bedtime and morning routine, and stick to them
Children need routines. If they’re going to bed and waking up at different times, their circadian rhythm (internal clock) won’t be able to set properly.
Encourage physical activity during the day
60-minutes of activity every day can help children release their energy and stress, making it easier to fall asleep at night. Getting them outside for this activity also gives them natural light exposure which can help them set their circadian rhythm, too.
Have a look at our blog, Natural Sleep Aids for Kids: 9 Proven Remedies for Better Rest, for more ways to help our little overcome childhood insomnia.