Parents are often worried about poor sleep in children. Bringing them to a neurologist’s appointment, they tell in detail about a wide variety of sleep disorders that cause them concern or even frighten. But not all sleep disorders in children are manifestations of the pathology and need treatment. The fact is that in a healthy dream of adults and children there are differences.
For example, the duration of sleep decreases with age. The daily cycle of light (day) and darkness (night) is formed by about 6 months of life, and it is then that children have the longest night’s sleep from 18 hours to 6 hours. As the child grows, the duration of sleep decreases, and it becomes less deep. By the age of 4–5, children stop sleeping during the day, and the total duration of sleep decreases. On average, most children need 11–12 hours of sleep.
If a child does not get enough, during the day he becomes irritable and capricious, inconsiderate, overly emotional and quick-tempered. It is sometimes difficult for parents to determine why a child has become restless and “difficult”; they rarely associate negative changes in a child’s behavior with sleep disturbance.
By adolescence before puberty, the duration of the required sleep is reduced to about 10 hours. By this time, circadian rhythms begin to lag in phase, and therefore, teens should fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. In order not to disturb their sleep, parents should not wake them up too early or put them to bed as small children. Knowledge of the characteristics of the child’s sleep will help avoid unwanted problems.
Difficulty falling asleep in children
Often parents notice that the child has become ill falling asleep, is naughty, insists on the presence of relatives, and is frightened if he wakes up at night and finds that they are not there.
Children at certain times in their lives often experience anxiety and fear that disturb their sleep. It can be any changes in the daily regimen, new impressions, for example, the first days of attending kindergarten, school. Some children are afraid of the dark, fearful and frightened by the monsters under the bed that the adults talked about. This is not unusual.
Children often see nightmares that they fear. They protest when they are put to bed. This is a normal phenomenon in young children, which can be adjusted without the help of doctors. To do this, in the afternoon, you need to talk with the child about the reason for fear and anxiety, calm and caress him. Sometimes it is enough to be near the child to the mother or father just a few minutes before bedtime.
It is important to take into account that children who find it difficult to fall asleep need to observe sleep and wakefulness. For this you need to go to bed at the same time. Parents should not go on about the whim, and adhere to strict rules of the ritual of going to bed. You can’t give in to requests to read a fairy tale, to stroke a little back, to give a piece of candy, etc.