Insomnia(Sleeplessness) Causes, Symptoms, 10 Remedies to Protect Child
Created by Debashree Bhattacharya Updated on Mar 04, 2020
I could not find a parent till now, who could say that his/her baby does not make any fuss before falling asleep. We often find that though our children are tired they can't fall asleep easily or they can't stay asleep for a satisfactory period of time. This condition of sleep deprivation is called Insomnia or anhypnia.
What Is Insomnia (Sleeplessness)?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder under whose influence an individual finds it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep or both. As a result that individual does not feel refreshed when he/she wakes up experiencing fatigue, mood disturbances, low energy and poor performance in office and schools. In the cases of both adults and children, insomnia(Sleeplessness) can be diagnosed as short term, long term or acute, and chronic. [Read - How to Test Colour Blindness in Toddlers - Symptoms & Causes]
Nature & Symptoms Of Insomnia in Toddlers
We have to keep in mind that in the cases of toddlers their inner biological clock some times works late wishing to stay awake late at night and continue to sleep till late morning. However, there are some striking sleeplessness symptoms that are clear enough to tell us if our children have been suffering from insomnia(lack of sleep).
- Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep and waking up very early in the morning and not feeling well-rested after a night's sleep
- Reluctant to go to sleep or showing a sign of worry regarding going to bed
- Drowsiness or tiredness in the morning
- Mood swings/irritability
- Aggression in nature
- Depression and upset mood
- Concentration problem in schools, difficulty in focusing on tasks
- Making errors or having accidents
- Crying and grudging
- Difficulty in remembering or memorizing something
- Disciplinary problem
Sleeplessness(Insomnia) Causes Among Children
There are several factors that may cause insomnia among children and even toddlers. As parents, we must know that the physical health of our children can influence the sleep pattern of our children. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea (snoring problem) and restless leg syndrome can cause insomnia among children.
- Environmental Conditions - Noise, temperature fluctuation, too much bright light and also the sound of several home appliances can trigger sleep disturbance or disorder among children
- Side-effects of some Medicines - There are some medicines, for example, medicines for the treatment of ADHD can cause insomnia among children
- Use of Excessive Caffeine & other Stimuli - We have to keep in mind that some times even clear sodas and most of the energy drinks have caffeine which is one of the reason behind insomnia among children
- Stress - Yes, even small children suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety. We have to realize that conflict between parents, fights among siblings, relocations, financial crisis and many more can make a child stressed and upset. Small children are more prone to stress and anxiety than adults and all these factors can lead them towards insomnia
- Medical, Psychiatric or Other Conditions - Medical conditions like night time asthma, stuffy nose due to allergy, coughing due to throat irritation, itching due to skin eczema can cause insomnia among children. Night terrors can cause insomnia among children. Other conditions such as growth pain and muscle cramps can trigger insomnia
- Too much exposure to TV, Electronic Devices - Too much exposure to TV and other electronic devices can cause insomnia among children. Even cartoons can be harmful to small children if there is violent and stressful content. Addiction to tablets, mobile phones, laptops is not good for young minds at all
- Lack of Physical Activities - Lack of physical activities can cause insomnia. Physical activity is very important for good and undisturbed sleep. It helps food digestion also. We have to keep in mind that undigested food can cause sleep disturbance among children
- Absence of a Healthy Diet & Sleep Routine - Unhealthy food habits and the absence of a consistent sleep routine often cause insomnia among children. It is obvious if we allow our children to sleep along the period of noon they will not feel a wish to go to sleep at night. Moreover, many of us don't follow a fixed time to take our children to their bed and this lack of routine does not allow our children's biological clock to follow a consistent routine for sleep time
[Know What The Doctor Says - Can Lack Of Sleep prevent Child's Growth?]
How to Cure Sleeplessness(Insomnia) in Children?
Parents, there is no denying the fact that acute insomnia(ahypnia) among children can't be cured without medical and psychiatric help. However, if we follow some prevention we can avoid this sleep disorder for our children.
- Keep your child's bedtime and wake up time insistent for throughout the week. This routine has to be followed during the vacations also
- We have to engage our children in lots of physical activities as good sound sleep is very much dependent on physical activities. But, any kind of strenuous activities must be avoided just before bedtime
- Consult your child's pediatrician about the ongoing medicines for your child if you find your baby has been suffering from sleep deprivation under the side effect of any medicine
- Too many small naps should be avoided. During day time 2 hrs sleep is more than enough for our toddlers
- Avoid or limit the consumption of chocolates for your children. Any kind of energy drinks must be avoided
- Try to finish your child's dinner at least 30 minutes before his/her bedtime. Any kinds of large meal or beverage must be avoided just before bedtime
- Make a relaxing bedtime ritual like a warm bath or a body massage or a good bedtime story session for your child
- Shut down all kinds of electronic devices at least 2 hrs before the actual bedtime
- Try to avoid any kind of discussion in front of the children that may cause any kind of stress and anxiety in their tender mind
- Magnesium helps to relax our brain at night. So magnesium-enriched food like leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, etc can help
Home Remedies to Overcome Sleeplessness
Natural remedies for insomnia among children may take away the dependency on medical treatment to cure it. Moreover, these remedies help a child to develop a healthy sleep habit too.
- Asleep Pouch - Fill a pouch with dried lavender flowers or rosebuds and leave it by the child's bedside
- A Cup of Unsweetened Chamomile Tea - Give a cup of unsweetened chamomile tea to your child before bedtime. It is not only relaxing but also sleep-inducing drink
- A Warm Bath - Put a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil in the warm water and give a bath to your child before the bedtime
- Wild Lettuce - Wild lettuce is another safe home remedy for insomnia in children. You can make a good dish of freshly chopped vegetable salad for your child
- Passionflower - Keep a bunch of passion flowers, which is found in herbal supplements, for a relaxing sleep for your child
- Physical Activities - Take your child regularly in the park in the evening. Physical activities are not a remedy in a true sense but if a child sits dull at home without any kind of exercise then there is very little chance of getting tired. It is easy to fall asleep when a child is tired but not fatigued
When to Visit A Doctor?
If you find that sleeplessness makes it hard for your child to function actively and happily at day time and your child is showing some striking behavioral changes like mood swings and cranky behavior, you must consult a good pediatrician for proper diagnosis of cause and effective treatment for your child.
This is my personal overview of Insomnia among children. Please share your opinion and suggestions in the comments section below.
1. mayoclinic.org › Insomnia - Symptoms and Causes - Mayo Clinic
2. sleepfoundation.org › insomnia › What Causes Insomnia? - Sleep Foundation
3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmc › Insomnia Prevalence, Consequences & More - NCBI