Childhood Insomnia

Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment

It’s often hard to diagnose childhood insomnia especially since children have yet to establish their sleeping patterns. 


But it can and does happen, very much like those in adults, except that the causes are so varied that it’s hard to really identify any of its symptoms. 

However, as a parent, you must know that when your kids can’t sleep, your entire household can’t sleep too and it makes for very tired parents and very cranky kids. 

How do you recognize insomnia in your children and what you can do to prevent it? What causes insomnia? What are the risk factors? Is there more than meets the eye?

The Insomnia Equation in Kids.

Babies and infants are still too young to experience insomnia, which can be characterized by difficulty in sleeping, difficulty in staying asleep and even feeling not well rested after being able to sleep through the night, seeing as they still need to develop sleeping patterns.

Babies haven’t yet learned the difference between night and day and so they follow no sleeping schedule. 

They simply sleep when they’re tired and wake up when they’re hungry or wet. This thus becomes your responsibility to ensure that they start learning good sleeping habits, starting with keeping it light and active during the day and dark and quiet during the night. 

This kind of conditioning helps in developing your babies’ sleeping patterns.

childhood insomnia

As these babies grow into toddlers and kids, it’s easier to notice whether they have childhood insomnia.  It’s also easier to pinpoint just what causes kids to develop insomnia at such a young age.  The number one cause is poor sleeping habits. 

If you as parent don’t establish a regular bedtime routine, you will find yourself dealing with insomnia in your children. 

It is necessary to create “quiet time” at least thirty minutes before the kids are ready to step into bed.  Any roughhousing, either with you or your older children, will get them all worked up and will definitely make it hard for them to sleep. 

Having a TV, video games or a personal computer in their rooms may also encourage them to sleep late, not to mention losing sleep over homework and other school activities. 

Insomnia in children may also be caused by physical and emotional issues.  For instance, if your child has asthma, he may be plagued by uncontrollable coughing and difficulty in breathing which will affect his sleep. 

Young children may also still be bed-wetting which would mean getting up in the middle of the night to change wet clothes.  It is also possible that young children may experience night terrors or separation anxiety which leads them to have insomnia. 

Their fear and anxiety will wake them up, keep them awake and give them trouble going back to sleep. 

Childhood insomnia may also be traced to simple things like sleeping in a room that’s too hot or too cold for the kids, losing their security object (like a blanket or a pillow), having too many people in one bed or conversely, being alone in a dark room.

Dealing with Childhood Insomnia

Reading through all these childhood insomnia causes may make your head reel but parents are already aware of them and probably have gone through them with their kids. 

It’s better to take a look at each child’s case and take it from there. 

If your child can’t sleep because he’s not ready to be alone in his own room, you may compromise by allowing him to cuddle with them or create a space for him in your room until he becomes ready to be by himself. 

If he’s bothered by health conditions, then there’s no other solution but to treat these conditions and the insomnia itself will be resolved. 

Your child’s bedroom needs to be developed into a quiet haven for sleep.  As much as possible, minimize his sleep distractions and create slowing-down activities, like reading a book, for bedtime.

It is not advisable to give medication to treat insomnia in children, especially if it’s transient (short-term).  The cause of most common childhood insomnia usually resolves itself in a short time and will work best with reconditioning and developing better sleeping habits. 

Try to avoid giving your kids drinks with caffeine before their bed time to prevent them from becoming too hyperactive. 

Try to determine if they are stressed with school which may also be a cause for their sleeplessness.  Create a work or play space for your kids outside of the bedroom.  This will maintain the bedroom as a place of rest and relaxation. 

All of these things are simple enough to do and all it takes is just a little observation on the your part.  Children are easy to decipher, what their needs are, what their anxieties could be. 

If you understand your kids and are diligent with keeping a regular bedtime routine with them, their insomnia will be a thing of the past.  Getting enough sleep for your kids ensures enough sleep for parents too.

For more insomnia facts, insomnia information and treatment check the following pages Insomnia and Hypnotherapy, Insomnia and Hypnotherapy, Home Remedies for Insomnia, Natural Remedies for Insomnia, Alcohol Insomnia, Insomnia Symptoms and Diagnosis and best sleeping pills.

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