Friday, March 19th, 2010

Is Your Child Sleep Deprived

sleep deprived

Are you one of those parents who are apprehensive of your child’s sleeping pattern? Then, this is the wakeup call for you. Just like adults, children need to sleep well to replenish their energy reserve and get ready for another day. Study says that sleep deprivation in children has been linked to lowered immunity, diabetes, depression, obesity, hindered physical development, stress and anxiety. When children don’t get enough sleep, it can have a negative effect on their overall health.

Why sleepless?

What causes turmoil in bed for young children? In young children, however, failure to establish a regular routine is frequently to blame. Physical factors such as bedwetting, general illness and developmental delay can cause sleep problems.
Psychological factors that can cause sleep problems include anxiety about separation from parents, fears (for example, of the dark), depression, drug abuse (in older children) and sexual abuse. A bedroom that is cold, noisy or damp may deter child from sleeping.
Dr. K. Ramalingam, pediatrician informs, “ Children who are experiencing exam fever, are couch potatoes and watch too much TV or are on the internet can suffer from sleep deprivation.”

Loss of sleep in your child can manifest in following behavioural changes–• Aggressive behaviour• Temper tantrums• Decreased patience• Hyperactivity• Crying and fussiness• A feeling of continuous lethargy• Poor concentration• Poor school performance

Dr Ramalingam points out the health hazards of sleep deprivation in children. “Poor food habits, unseemly growth and development, stomach upsets like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome and even depression can hit a sleep deprived child.”

How can you make your child sleep well?

• Create a simple and familiar routine for bedtime. For example: feed, bathe, and put to bed

•Allow toddlers time to settle down. If they make a fuss, don’t give in immediately.

• Keep things quiet, this helps toddlers to settle and teaches them that the night is different from the day.

• Alternatively, keep natural house noises going.

• Make sure your child unwinds before the bedtime. This will make the transition from lively toddler to a sleeping child easier.

Waking up too early:

• Use thick curtains to make children’s rooms darker so the morning light doesn’t wake them.

• Provide safe toys for him to play with in the mornings, so he can play quietly until he hears that the rest of the family is awake.

• If your child’s a natural early riser, you may just have to be patient. Usually, once children start nursery or school, they tend to sleep in for longer.

Waking in the night:

• Be realistic and remember that everyone’s sleep requirements and patterns vary. Some people need eight hours or more, others can manage on five or six.

Many toddlers continue to wake during the night for feeds. If you’d like to stop this, cut down night feeds by gradually replacing milk with water. When you go in to comfort him, keep the lights low and use a soft voice. Don’t encourage any kind of activity. You’ll probably need to do this several times.

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Category: Health Concerns
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