Medical Issues Related to Sleep
Is your child having difficulty sleeping night after night? Have you tried different methods of coaching your child to a good nights sleep and nothing seems to be working?
If your child is PERSISTENTLY struggling with sleep, there may be something larger at play for them. The key word though is “persistent”.
There are a number of reasons why your little one may experience a sudden change in their sleep habits – a growth spurt, illness, behavioural/emotional changes (ie. anxiety, changes in family dynamics) etc. Typically though, sleep disturbances such as these are temporary, and they can be remedied with different strategies to reduce the behaviour. If you are experiencing persistent troubles though, a checkup with your family physician is a really good idea.
Sleep disorders in children and adolescents, even infants, are more common than you may think. They can also be caused by underlying medical issues that are not likely to respond to behavioural techniques and may require some sort of additional treatment. Some examples include:
Restless Leg Syndrome
Nightmares and/or Night Terrors
Delayed Sleep Phase
Anytime your child struggles with sleep, it will have a profound effect on their behaviour and will undoubtedly affect everyone else in the family too. Before assuming the worst, try out some of the best sleep tricks out there:
Establish a regular bedtime routine, and try not to vary from it.
Incorporate relaxing elements such as a warm bath, songs, or story time.
For separation issues, try an extra-long cuddle before bedtime or a security like a blanket or favourite stuffed animal.
For toddlers and/or older children:
Eliminate caffeine or sugary foods close to bedtime.
Limit screen time in the 90 minutes before bed.
When in doubt, definitely consult your family doctor or pediatrician. You may find their first suggestion is to “sleep train”, or let your baby “cry-it-out”. But, if these sleep challenges have been incredibly persistent for your family, you may also need to be persistent with your medical professional and press for answers.
And if your family doctor seems wary to offer sleep advice, do consider seeking out a naturopathic doctor who specializes in pediatrics, and/or sleep disturbances. I can think of a few good ones to recommend.
And as always, a huge thank you to my friend www.stacielynnphotography.ca for sharing this image you see here, and many others on my website.