Sleep Stealers

You got your baby to sleep through the night and later succeeded in getting her used to her own bed. By the preschooler age, she was falling asleep on her own. “That’s the end of that!” you might think. Or is it?

The struggle for a good night’s sleep may be a continuing saga for your big kid. A child aged 5-12 years old still needs 10-11 hours of sleep at night to stay alert and function better in school. Worn-out kids display crankiness, hyperactivity, depression, and poor school performance. About a quarter of gradeschoolers experience at least one of these sleep problems.

sleeping tips

Snoring and Apnea. What was thought of as a cute little snore is considered today as a sign of a potentially serious problem. Snoring may be the result of simple nasal congestion, but when your child snores like a chain saw and has difficulty breathing, this may be a sign of apnea. In these case, there are pauses in breathing and mini-awakenings throughout the night. Your child’s chest may also heave strongly.

Sleeping Tips: Keeping the head propped up and giving a dose of sinus medication may help when snoring is mild.

But with heavier snoring, a visit to a sleep lab may be in order to see if  your child has sleep apnea. Treating apnea may require removing the tonsils and adenoids or simply getting your child to lose weight.

Insomnia. Kids who suffer from insomnia complain of difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early. Insomnia is sometimes caused by anxiety. That request for another glass of water may actually signal that something is wrong.

sleeping tips

Sleeping Tips: Get to the root of your child’s anxiety, and help her resolve them.

Get her in the mood for bedtime with sleep-inducing snacks. A glass of milk, or peanut butter with crackers an hour before bed will spark a release of serotonin, the body’s built-in sleep activator. If she rouses, don’t do anything to encourage staying awake like serving snacks or chatting.

Sleepwalking. Sleepwalking occurs when there is an incomplete sleep-stage transition that causes the body to move around even when the brain is already asleep. It tends to happen during the first two hours of sleep.

Sleeping Tips: Try moving your child’s bedtime earlier, as sleepwalking is sometimes caused by lack of sleep.

Don’t worry, a child usually outgrows sleepwalking. In the meantime, keep her safe by ensuring that the windows are locked, and the floor is clear of toys. Keep the nanny in the room, too, for extra assurance.

Night Terrors. Night terrors involve sudden and inconsolable crying, flailing and screaming that lasts for an hour or more. Your child is not having a bad dream, since she is totally unaware of her behavior. But it can be a nightmare for parents.

Sleeping Tips: Avoid triggers like over tiredness, radical schedule changes, fever (reduce it before bedtime), and certain meds (such as antihistamines). Your child will seem awake, but she isn’t, so riding it out will be the only thing to do.

sleeping tips

Nightmares. Nightmares are frightening dreams that occur during REM sleep, and often awake your child up. These are more common between the ages of 3-8, when children’s imaginations are very active. Nightmares can result from a real-life scary event or a change in routine.

Sleeping Tips: Using a night-light may help prevent nightmares. When your child experiences a nightmare, give her a tight hug to make her feel safe and secure. Unlike night terrors, your child will be responsive and may recall details of the nightmare. Ask her if she wants to talk about it.


2 Responses to “Sleep Stealers”

  1. Gloriane says:

    Ah, i see. Well that’s not too tircky at all!”

  2. Patrina Zych says:

    Thanks for the post 🙂

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