Sleeping is one of the most important things to do in a given day. It enables the body to reload after a long day of intense activity. Sleeping is even more essential with children since their metabolism is still developing. That's why doctors recommend they sleep for at least 9 hours every day. A 9-hour sleep prevents them from contracting sleep disorders, which are very common with children. This article discusses how you can address the sleep problems that your kids currently have.
Common misconceptions about parenting
New parents often believe their kids will only deal with sleep issues when they're still babies, but this isn't true. In a 2010 article published on USA Today, it was found that at least 25% of children will experience nighttime problems.
When parents learn their children have been diagnosed with sleep disorders, they start blaming themselves for having contributed to the development of the disorder. But the problem is usually much deeper and goes beyond their own sleep habits at nighttime.
What are the most popular sleep disorders that kids have?
- Apnea and snoring
- Lack of exercising
In a recent research conducted by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, experts found that about 10% of the children snore frequently and about 2% to 4% of kids suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Because they stop breathing briefly during their sleep, kids end up waking up and losing crucial hours of sleep as they try to resume slumbering.
Anxiety is another cause for sleep difficulties at night for children. It can be the result of social phenomena such as the lack of popularity at school, or academic reasons such as poor grades.
High levels of activity are often associated with better sleep. A study conducted in New Zealand confirmed this belief by showing that for every hour of inactivity, 7-year old kids take three additional minutes to fall asleep.
Finally, kids who are dealing with chronic sicknesses such as allergies tend to experience sleep issues during nighttime. This is because the nasal inflammation increases, thus intensifying the symptoms.
How should you address these disorders?
The first step in addressing these disorders is to identify them properly. This is where your role as a parent becomes relevant because the sooner you spot the issue, the easier you'll be able to resolve it. Snoring is characterized by a distinct breathing noise, but if you have any doubts, taking your kid to any local sleep lab will give you a permanent answer. Plus, you'll be told which sinus medication to give your child and/or how to position their head when they're sleeping.
If your kid is tired but won't close their eyes, it means they are anxious. Since you don't know the source of their anxiety, it's best if you don't judge them for their behavior. Promising them a reward for sleeping might encourage them to fall asleep.
The lack of physical activity can easily be spotted by the fact that your kid is always watching TV or surfing over the Internet. After they've spent half of the day sitting at school, you sure don't want them to idle at home. One way to increase their activity level is by getting them involved in sports, or allowing them to play outside after school. Additionally, make sure your kid doesn't have access to any electronics at least half an hour before going to bed.
Finally, giving your kids allergy medications such as Nasonex or Nasacort will help remove the nasal congestion associated with allergies.
Helping your children deal with their sleeping disorders requires constant monitoring of their behavior. If you can spot the problem soon enough, you'll be able to limit negative implications on your kid's development.