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« Kids and Sleep: Part 2 — Sleep Apnea | Main | Preparing for Middle School »

August 15, 2021

Kids and Sleep: Part 3 — Does Your Child Have One Of These Common Sleep Problems?

Our schools are packed with students too tired to learn because of lost sleep, according to a new study from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Many of our kids are experiencing “jet lag” symptoms, says Denise Amschler, professor of physiology and health science at Ball State.

"The study found that the majority of youngsters regularly experience sleep loss and feel sleepy during the day at least two to four times weekly. Nearly half admitted to having trouble waking up in the morning on school days,” says Amschler. “Elementary-school-aged children require an average of 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night, and most aren't getting it."

COMMON KIDS’ SLEEP PROBLEMS

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says about 69 percent of kids ages 10 and under regularly experience some type of sleep problem. The most common:

°    Insomnia. It involves difficulty falling asleep, difficulty remaining asleep and/or early morning awakenings. Insomnia can be short-term due to stress, pain or a medical or psychiatric condition. Treating underlying conditions, developing good sleep practices and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help.

°    Sleepwalking. This usually occurs an hour or two after sleep onset and may last from 5 to 20 minutes. As sleep deprivation often contributes to sleepwalking, moving bedtime earlier can help.

°    Sleep terrors. These occur early in the night and can be frightening to parents. A child may scream out and appear distressed, although he is not awake or aware during a sleep terror. Not getting enough sleep, having an irregular sleep schedule, stress or sleeping in a new environment may make sleep terrors more likely. Increasing sleep time may help.

°    Snoring. It occurs when there is a partial blockage in the airway that causes a noise due to a vibration of the back of the throat. Snoring can be caused by nasal congestion or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that block the airway. Some children who snore may have sleep apnea (see below).

°    Nightmares. These frightening dreams awaken a child. They usually occur in the later part of the night and can result from a scary event, stress or change in a child's routine. Using a nightlight or a security object often helps.

°    Restless legs syndrome. RLS is a movement disorder that includes uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings — often described as crawly or tingly — in the legs, causing an overwhelming urge to move. These feelings make it difficult to fall asleep. RLS can be treated with changes in bedtime routines and with medications. Talk with your child’s doctor if you suspect RLS.


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My 13 yr old has been taking a chewable melatonin tablet (Trader Joes) since he was five yrs of age, every night about 8 pm. Last nite he was too emotional over the series Meerkat Manor ending to remember to take one and came out of bedroom at 11 PM to take one.

He also loves a book series called The Warriors by Erin Hunter. Two new books come out Sep 2nd. Might be something your son reads? http://www.warriorcats.com

Great books

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