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Children have sleep problems, too; help by understanding the issues

March 4, 2014

Parents often look in on their children while the kids are sleeping. Kids often look peaceful while asleep, and parents enjoy seeing them getting their needed slumber. However, some kids can struggle when it comes to getting their necessary rest.

While many adults have suffered from sleeping problems, it might surprise those adults to learn that kids can suffer those very same problems. Though they might not have bills or stress from their jobs, kids can still find it difficult to sleep at night. The following sleeping disorders aren’t exclusive to adults and could negatively impact a child’s ability to get a good night’s rest.
Insomnia: This disorder is classified as trouble falling to sleep or maintaining sleep. Stress and depression are two underlying causes of insomnia in children. Oftentimes poor sleep habits, such as inconsistent sleep schedules, falling asleep outside of the bed and others can worsen insomnia. To help kids cope with insomnia, parents should cut off caffeine consumption 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Other options serving include lighter dinners, eliminating nap time or reducing its length (an hour or less) and reserving the bed for sleeping, not hanging out and watching television or doing homework.
Night terrors: Night terrors are similar to nightmares and typically occur in children between the ages of 3 to 12. Characterized by periods of intense crying and fear, an average episode lasts 1 to 2 minutes (though an episode can continue for up to 30 minutes). However, night terrors are typically not recalled by the child the next day. Night terrors can be especially hard on everyone involved, as a child will appear genuinely terrified even though they are asleep. Frequent and recurring, night terrors are also often accompanied by an elevated heart rate, an increased breathing rate, and heavy sweating. While there is no uniform cause of night terrors, stressful life events, fever, trouble sleeping, and certain medications that affect the nervous system might be causes.

Sleepwalking (somnambulism): Somnambulism is the technical term for “sleepwalking.” A sleepwalking episode is when a child sits up in bed with their eyes open, but in reality is not seeing anything. Children can remain in bed during an episode, or get up and walk around. Episodes are more common in male school-aged children and some episodes might include a child actually leaving the home..
Certain things act as indicators of a sleepwalking episode, which can take parents by surprise. Glassy eyes that are more fixated than attentive and a blank stare in the eyes, as opposed to normal eye movement, are two common symptoms. When speaking to a child who is sleepwalking, parents can expect a response to be slow and not necessarily coherent. Similar to night terrors, a child is not likely to recall a sleepwalking episode unless they’re woken up while it’s going on.
Nocturnal
Enuresis: Typically a normal part of bladder control development, nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting) is common among children ages 4 and under. Primary nocturnal enuresis, however, is bed wetting that occurs in children over the age of 5 or 6. In such cases, children cannot consistently stay dry at night, and this could be the result of several factors.

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