The nature and structure of sleep varies throughout life. Especially often insomnia, which in the ordinary vocabulary is known as insomnia, suffer babies. And this is not surprising: the central nervous system of babies is immature, the cycle "rhythm-wakefulness" is not fully formed. Insomnia is defined by the international classification of sleep disorders as a state of disruption of night sleep continuity. In the list of reasons why people turn to a doctor for help, insomnia follows immediately after a cold, gastritis and headaches. Statistics are not encouraging: more than 25% of children between the ages of one to five years sleep very poorly.
Do not be sad
Among the causes of insomnia in children, undoubtedly, emotionally-stressful factors are leading. Impressive baby will begin to worry at night if he has survived a mental trauma. For example, the death of a pet. Such an event can leave a much deeper trail in the child's soul than parents think. The baby is upset by a dream if the harmony of the family is broken: the parents part, get divorced, get sick or quarrel.
Provoke a child's insomnia and can move to a new house, and a school change. Insomnia is especially costly for children. Suffice it to recall a known fact: a growth hormone, or growth hormone, is produced mainly in a dream, so in crumbs that sleep badly, physical development often slows down. Gradual increase in the deficiency of sleep affects the thinking abilities of the child.
In some cases, the ability to think logically is lost, children begin to behave like an airplane on autopilot. Simple tasks are carried out easily, using a stereotyped set of answers. And everything that goes beyond the usual, is accompanied by errors. The main causes of insomnia, which do not depend on age, are added specific forms of insomnia that are characteristic of certain age groups.
Possible causes of insomnia in infants
Insomnia of infants is often a reaction to teething: salivation increases, saliva accumulates in the throat, causing the child to worry and wake up. In addition, babies experience pain when growing teeth erupt, widening the gum. Breasts are also very sensitive to airborne irritants. The most common irritant of the respiratory tract is cigarette smoke. That's why it is not recommended to smoke in the room where the child sleeps, and also leave baby powders, paints, perfumes open, use hair spray.
The cause of nocturnal awakenings of babies often becomes and an allergy to food. Kid worry about a piece of pain and a sense of tension in a gut-filled belly. The most common culprit of such symptoms is cow's milk. Other possible allergens include eggs, wheat, corn, citrus, onions, fish, nuts, cabbage, chocolate.
Sometimes insomnia is caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GPR) - belching up of gastric juice. For children, this is the same painful sensation as for adult heartburn. It is much easier to carry when the child is in an upright position. Other symptoms of GER include frequent attacks of crying, regurgitation after eating, frequent respiratory infections.
There is another reason for insomnia - helminthic invasions, in particular pinworms. Female oysters move down the intestine to the anus, where they lay eggs. This causes severe itching, which causes the child to wake up.
One of the most difficult to recognize infant diseases is ear infections. Often the only symptom that indicates a disease is a sleep disorder. The fact is that in the prone position, the liquid that is formed due to infection presses on the tympanic membrane. When the baby moves to a vertical position, the fluid recedes, the pressure and pain decrease.
Learning to walk
- At the age of 9 months to 2 years, many kids have not yet fully adapted to the new skills of standing and walking, which both fascinate and frighten them. Therefore sometimes children, trying to get up at night in a crib, do not know how to lie down again. In the daytime, parents should help the child to form this skill.
- Overabundance of information and physical activity during the day can also disturb the baby's sleep.
- The child becomes so accustomed to the nightly ritual before going to sleep that his absence or change can significantly disturb the sleep. This variant of sleep disorder is indicated in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders as a violation of sleep associations.
- Most emotional causes of a 2-year-old child's wakefulness are associated with anxiety over separation. At this age, the baby tends to control the environment, immediately notices someone's absence. Kids fear that during a dream, the world they appreciate so much will change.
- Another common problem among children under 3 years old is frequent nightly awakenings. This happens with babies, who are accustomed to fall asleep only during motion sickness or feeding and who do not know how to fall asleep on their own. This skill can be developed by changing the set of associations associated with the child with sleep.
At the age of 3-6 years, children are often prevented from falling asleep a too developed imagination, which can create frightening images. Preschoolers are afraid of noisy, spiteful, uncontrollable monsters, generated by their own imagination. His peak fears reach just in the period of falling asleep, when the child is left alone with the fruits of his imagination. Often frightening images are projected onto real objects and objects, forming the so-called hypnagogic hallucinations.
Children's imagination is capable of giving menacing features to such peaceful and harmless objects of the interior as a wardrobe or an armchair. The reflection of the street lamp on the wall turns into a formidable monster, a sweater forgotten in a chair - into a treacherous robber. No wonder the child can not fall asleep in such a nervous situation! The peak of nightmares is at preschool age. Do not worry, it only shows that the child is most actively recruited life experience.
If nightmares are rare, do not worry: in a couple of years your baby will have a mathematics lesson, and not an angry bull. With frequent, with a repetitive plot, terrible dreams require specialist advice.
Light and sound
- Often, all that is needed to ensure that the baby's sleep is fine - the formation of a well-established cycle of "sleep-wakefulness." Try to create a contrast between these two states. It's good when the day is filled with loud sounds, laughter, games. The closer to evening, the quieter you talk, mute the lighting. Soon it will be a signal for going to sleep.
- Lighting is also important for normal sleep. In the daytime it is recommended to be in bright light, which is beneficial for the subsequent sleep. The fact is that the hormone of the thyroid gland melatonin is produced in the dark. In the morning, when the brain is saturated with melatonin, sunlight allows you to quickly get rid of this hormone, which positively affects the emotional state. This effect is the basis of phototherapy - the use of a special lamp for the treatment of sleep disorders.
- About a third of all cases of insomnia are associated with the inconvenience of sleeping: too soft or too hard mattress, a high pillow, a narrow bed.
- Another potential problem is the sounds in the bedroom. One way to solve it is the creation of so-called white noise, the generators of which can be a fan or recording with the sounds of surf, wind, rain.
- Before going to sleep, you should avoid finding out the relationships, scandals and even pleasant surprises. The state of emotional stress slows down the process of falling asleep and worsens the quality of sleep.
Treatment of insomnia in a child
Of course, medical treatment of insomnia in children should be treated with extreme caution. Sleeping pills, so beloved by adults, kids, of course, should not be given. To resort to the help of sedative phytopreparations without the order of an experienced specialist is also impossible. Among the methods of treating insomnia, psychotherapy is leading, which implies work not only with the child, but also with the parents. A variety of methods of self-regulation are very widespread in the treatment of sleep disorders:
- methods of muscle relaxation;
- soothing exercises (sipping, self-massage);
- breathing exercises;
- exercises on the imagination (fingers, head, spout can become the characters of games, and the wish for good night to different parts of the body facilitates the process of falling asleep);
- a good effect gives acupressure.
Also useful is aromatherapy, which is used in the form of massage with essential oils, inhalations, vapors and aromatic baths, hypnotic herbal pillows (man's fern, pine needles, hop cones, mint, geranium, oregano, rose petals, lavender, and rosemary).
The child does not sleep well - how to win insomnia?
"He sleeps like an angel," parents are touched, looking at the sleeping baby. But what to do when one has to be touched less often, spending most of the time trying to put the child to bed? What to do when all the tales are read, all the songs are sung, and the favorite child of sleep, as they say, in no one's eye? And it repeats almost every day, month after month?
In fact, this problem, alas, is not uncommon. Every fourth child of preschool age experiences regular or periodic problems with sleep, and parents who are forced to look for ways to solve the problem are experiencing chronic lack of sleep. Insomnia (from English insomnia - "insomnia") in our time has become one of the most common problems, especially relevant for children.
What is the danger of insomnia?
At first glance, it may seem that insomnia in children has no serious consequences, apart from the violation of the regime of the day the whole family does not have. But in fact, insomnia can adversely affect the health of the child.
The fact is that while the child is sleeping, somatropin is most actively produced in his body, a hormone responsible for growth and development in childhood. Deficiency of sleep slows the development of the hormone, so children who sleep badly, grow more slowly and often experience problems with weight and even mental and mental development. Therefore, sleep in infancy is especially important.
In addition, because of insomnia, the nervous system does not have time to recover, because it is forced to work constantly. At the same time, brain activity slows down: the child thinks worse, belatedly reacts to changes in the environment and questions addressed to him. He is able to perform simple everyday actions "on the machine", but when you need to change the usual algorithm or move to another occupation, it causes a stupor. Such a state negatively affects learning, communicating with friends and can even be dangerous.
With prolonged insomnia, both well-being and the psyche are affected: the child becomes listless, irritable, restless, tearful, often complains of headache, dizziness and lack of appetite. This condition can lead to more serious diseases, so insomnia must be actively combated.
Causes and treatment of sleep disorders in children
Insomnia is a disorder that requires careful treatment. But before it begins, it is necessary to find out the reasons that led to the disorder of childhood sleep.
Conventionally, several groups of causes of insomnia are distinguished: psychological, physiological and related to the environment. Insomnia can be caused by one or more reasons, and in children of different ages they may differ slightly.
So, sleep disorders in children under one year are usually caused by the imperfection of their nervous system: the diurnal rhythms in infancy are only being developed. Therefore, if the child is healthy, cheerful, active and "confusing the day with the night", being awake at night and hard sleep during the day, then the reason is exactly this. However, there are more serious causes of insomnia in infants:
- too warm and dry air;
- noisy or unusual surroundings;
- too bright light;
- problems with the stomach and intestines;
- ear infections;
In this case, the child does not sleep well during the day and at night, often wakes up, fits, crying is frequent and loud. For the baby it is necessary to observe: it may be necessary to change the situation in the room where the child sleeps, and also to show it to the doctor to exclude any diseases.
In the future, new causes of insomnia may be added. After a year, children learn new motor skills and actively learn the world around them. Intensive and diverse activities so overloads the nervous system that the child falls asleep with difficulty.
In addition, the child begins to try adult food, and unusual food can cause gastrointestinal disorders and diathesis. Independently to adjust the dream the kid at this age while can not, therefore it is necessary to develop daily ritual of a retirement to a sleep and also to adjust a mode of healthy high-grade food, having excluded overeating for the night.
Preschool age is often marked by the first nightmares - children 3-6 years old listen to fairy tales, watch cartoons and TV shows, and actively developing brain processes the received impressions into unthinkable fantasies. As a result, the child begins to be afraid of the dark, afraid to fall asleep, sleeps weakly and often wakes up crying and crying.
In addition, when children begin to attend kindergarten, the risk of catching a cold or getting infected with helminths is significantly increased: at this age, children may suffer from insomnia due to sore throat, stuffy nose or itching. Such problems should be solved in a comprehensive way: to strengthen children's immunity, to treat diseases in a timely manner and to regularly take tests. In addition, you need to limit the viewing of the child by the TV, and fairy tales and cartoons to select carefully, excluding scary stories and frightening characters.
In children of junior and middle school age, the psychological causes of insomnia come to the fore: the beginning of studies is almost always accompanied by stress due to a change in the situation, and then other problems can also increase. Fear of control and exams, problems with academic achievement, conflict with the teacher, quarrels with friends - the most common causes of insomnia in children in 8-10 years. In addition, problems in the family, moving, changing the situation and even the death of a pet often cause sleep disturbances.
If insomnia is caused by such reasons, it is necessary to direct all efforts to create a favorable atmosphere in the family and psychological support of the child. It is important to pay attention to the evaluation: perhaps the son or daughter need additional training. It is advisable to talk with the child more often on topics of concern to him, and try to make him feel friendly. If insomnia is accompanied by headaches, impaired appetite, fainting, sudden mood changes, a vision disorder - you should immediately show the child to a pediatrician and neurologist, and if necessary to other specialists.
In addition to all of the above, insomnia can provoke very serious neurological disorders, diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as endocrine disorders. Therefore, even if the child does not have any health problems other than difficulties with sleeping, specialist advice is required in any case.
Medicamentous and homeopathic treatment of insomnia
It happens that it is enough to create a favorable atmosphere in the room, adjust the regime of the day or even openly talk with the child heart to mind, so that the sleep gets better again. But if the child still can not go to sleep for a long time, often wakes up or does not sleep at all, treatment may be required.
The main thing, remember - to treat a child with drugs chosen independently or on the advice of friends in any case impossible! Any incorrect application of drugs can lead to the most terrible consequences. In addition, sleeping pills for children are strictly prohibited: they have a lot of side effects and have a detrimental effect on the brain and nervous system. Any treatment should be prescribed only by a doctor.
The use of drugs in children under 3 years is strictly contraindicated. From the age of 3, the child can be prescribed such funds as "Persen" (strictly in tablets), "Alora" or "Tenoten". These preparations on the basis of plant extracts have a relaxing and soothing effect, actively struggle with irritability and anxiety, contribute to the normalization of sleep.
Homeopathic remedies, even in spite of their plant origin, should not be used on their own. Duration of use and dosage is prescribed exclusively by a specialist. In general, all homeopathic medicines are allowed to children from the age of 3, except for Valerianahel, whose use is permissible from the age of 2 and "Sleep-norm", which has no age limit.
The safer ways to normalize sleep in children is to use the decoctions of such plants as:
- hop cones;
- root of valerian.
Equally useful is massage with essential oils of these plants and aromatic pillows. However, for children under 3 years of age, they should be used with caution.
Recommendations for parents
The treatment of insomnia even with the help of medicines will not be effective unless you create a comfortable physical and psychological environment for the child. For this it is important to adhere to the following recommendations:
- Observe the regime of the day is obligatory. Children, especially babies, are very conservative: the slightest change in the routine or disorderly regime dislodges them and prevents them from falling asleep. Therefore, it is important to develop a ritual of going to sleep. A baby can have a "bathing-feeding-sleep" scheme. Children older - "washing - a glass of warm milk - reading a fairy tale - a dream." The most important thing is that the ritual is performed daily and strictly at the same time.
- It is important to create the right microclimate in the room - it is proved that for a comfortable sleep, an air temperature of about 16-20 degrees and a relative humidity of at least 50% are necessary. Be sure to air the baby before going to bed and, if necessary, use an air humidifier.
- Particular attention is required and nutrition of the baby - it should be full and varied. Be sure to include in the diet low-fat meat, sour-milk products, whole-grain bread - they contribute to the production of the melatonin sleep hormone and the amino acid tryptophan useful for brain activity. It is desirable to eat more vegetables and fruits, especially tomatoes and bananas, which contain potassium and magnesium, useful for the nervous system. The main thing is that the child does not have any allergies to these products.
- Do not tightly feed the baby right before bed or give him sweets: this leads to insomnia and can trigger terrible dreams.
- The activity of the child during the day should be active: spend more time outdoors, play, exercise. After such loads, sleep is usually healthy and strong.
- One hour before sleep, you need to set the child on vacation: mute the lights and loud sounds, go to calm games, otherwise over-excitement will prevent him from falling asleep.
- The child dreams nightmares, and he wakes up crying and crying? Be sure to calm the baby, ask about what he dreams about, explain the safety of dreams. To put the child to sleep immediately after this is not worth it: the impressions of sleep will remain strong for a long time. It is better to talk with him, read a fairy tale, drink warm milk with honey and stay close until the dream takes its. If the child is tormented by nightmares, it is better to leave a small night light in the room: a soft light will not interfere with sleep and will allow the child not to feel horror when falling asleep and awakening.
- If the baby does not sleep and does not show any signs of the disease, you can try to bathe in a cool bath: after plenty of rest, the baby will get tired and fall asleep.
- If the child does not sleep well, do not take it lightly and brush aside the problem: consultations of competent specialists, as well as the attention and care of parents will help to quickly establish a healthy sleep, and as a result, provide the baby with normal growth and development.