How To Help Kids Fall Asleep Fast – For parents, learning how to help kids fall asleep fast is mandatory. When your child does not get the necessary amount of sleep time needed at his or her age, they can have trouble dealing with their emotions. That means your child can either become cranky or hyper which is never fun for any parent. To add to that, children who experience sleep deprivation are more likely to be overweight and develop learning and concentration disabilities.
Getting your child to bed and keeping them asleep is not an easy task, but when done right, it can yield amazing benefits not only to your child but also to you as a parent.
Why Children Have Trouble Falling Asleep
One of the main reasons why children have trouble sleeping is because of anxiety. When a child is anxious, fear takes over the urge to fall asleep fast. Sometimes, when children wake up in the middle of the night, they become anxious about how to fall back asleep – so, most of the time, they don’t. It may be irrational, but remember that anxiety does not only occur in adults. It also hampers sleep patterns among children.
Factors that trigger difficulty falling asleep among children
Other factors can also trigger difficulty falling asleep among children. Here are the following:
Changes in the household
Death, divorce or simply moving to a new house or city can not only affect your children’s mental health but also their sleep habits. Routine is important in children, especially those that are experiencing grief or distress. So when major changes happen in the household, your child will need more than drinking warm milk at night or taking a warm bath to make him or her feel safe in sleeping.
Children have a good imagination and making them watch horror movies or see traumatic photos will never help you create a good sleep schedule for them. Most of the time, it’s fear of the dark and being alone that prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep; these fears usually disappear as they grow older. How to help kids fall asleep? It’s important that you assure them there are no monsters under their bed.
Nightmares and scary dreams are not uncommon among children. When your child wakes up from a bad dream, more often than not, they find it hard to fall back asleep and stay asleep. If this occurs regularly, your child will highly likely develop sleep problems. How to help a child fall asleep? As parents, talking to your children about their nightmares can help them feel secure.
Children’s Sleep Problems
How to help kids fall asleep? Aside from creating a good sleep environment for your child, there are also particular sleep disorders among children that give them difficulty falling asleep. Most of the time, parents don’t easily detect the symptoms of these disorders. However, there are tell-tale signs that you can watch out for to help you determine if your child needs a sleep specialist to fall asleep faster.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that does not only affect adults but also children. There are four types of insomnia that your child can develop. The first one is sleep-onset association insomnia which is when your child gets used to a bedtime routine and finds it difficult to fall asleep at night under different circumstances. The second one is limit-setting insomnia which is when your child refuses to go to bed because no strict sleep routine rules are being enforced.
The third one is inadequate sleep hygiene which is when activities that do not promote sleep keep the brain active and, thus, teenagers from sleeping. The last one is idiopathic insomnia, a rare sleep disorder that can run in families. Causes of all these types of insomnia include anxiety, stress, breathing problems, and certain medications.
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Excessive daytime sleepiness, although considered a symptom, can be a sign of sleep-wake cycle problems. It’s normal for kids to feel tired after a very active day. However, if daytime drowsiness becomes a routine even after your kid gets nap time, it may mean that your child’s bedtime routine is not as healthy as you think. Excessive daytime sleepiness is linked to various health problems, so it’s best to take your child to a children’s hospital for a proper diagnosis.
Obstructive sleep apnea
According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 3% of children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder occurs when the upper airways of your child are obstructed, and air does not reach the lungs efficiently. The most common sign of sleep apnea in children is snoring at night, although it can also be a symptom for other health problems such as nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, respiratory infections or a deviated septum.
Sleepwalking at night happens to as many as 30% of children aging between 3 to 7 years old. Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking causes children to be awake in the middle of the night and walk about while sleeping, sometimes mumbling incoherent utterances while doing so. It happens during REM sleep and can last between 5 to 15 minutes or longer. Sleepwalking can become dangerous when your child starts to turn appliances on or worse, walk out of the house.
To-Do List For A Healthy Bedtime Routine
When your child is having trouble falling asleep, going to a child doctor and buying sleep aid medications are not necessarily the first options for treatment. There are bedtime routine changes you can do to ensure that your child’s bedroom is conducive for a relaxing night’s sleep.
No electronics before bed
Limiting your child’s use of electronics is important because, according to research, bright light from LED-lit devices suppresses the production of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is the hormone that promotes sleep and is a vital ingredient for regulating circadian rhythms. Melatonin levels are high approximately two hours prior to falling asleep. By keeping electronics away from your children before they go to bed, you are ensuring them a full night’s rest.
Create a regular bedtime routine
Young children especially infants and toddlers can benefit a lot from a bedtime routine. How to help a child fall asleep? When you do specific activities with your child before going to bed, you are wiring their brain to follow a habit for falling asleep. When done right, the time it takes for your child to fall asleep at night will become shorter until they become used to falling asleep on their own.
Read a bedtime story
Sometimes, the best solution to children’s sleep problem is by simply setting time to read them a bedtime story. One of the best children’s books you can read beside your child’s bed is one titled “The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep.”
The book was written by the Swedish behavioral psychologist and best-selling author Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin. It is made up of 26 pages that use psychological and positive reinforcement methods to help children feel sleepy at night – and the reader, too. It took about three years for the author to perfect it.
Give out bedtime snacks
How to help a child fall asleep? It’s not good to make your child go to bed with a full stomach, but it’s not wrong to give them bedtime snacks either. In fact, a small snack can prevent them from getting hungry and waking up in the middle of their sleep.
It’s essential, however, to choose meals that do not contain sugar or caffeine since these ingredients can trigger hyperactivity in kids and make them stay awake. Healthy snacks such as graham crackers, warm milk, or fruits are ones that you can easily give your kids before bed.