Any parent knows that a child’s bedtime troubles don’t end after they move out of the crib. Kids of all ages can have trouble sleeping through the night for a variety of reasons — some of which may surprise you. Identifying the root cause of your little one’s sleep issues can help the whole family get better rest. To help you get started, here are five reasons why kids may lie awake at night.
Wetting the Bed
Middle-of-the-night accidents are fairly common (15 percent of children will wet the bed by age 5). They can be caused by genetics, a small bladder, constipation, sleeping very deeply, and, in rare cases, an underlying medical condition. While accidents can be frustrating for both you and your tot, it’s important to keep your cool. Stay calm, be supportive if your child does wet themselves, and reward dry nights with hugs and small treats, like stickers.
Your child’s imagination starts to develop during the toddler years, and it really takes off between ages 3 and 5. If your little one wakes up from a bad dream, it’s best not to discuss the nightmare, as that can make things worse. Instead, comfort your child (such as by rubbing their back) and gently tell them to go back to sleep.
Kids who drink caffeinated beverages sleep less than those who don’t, so skip the soda with dinner. Caffeine acts as a stimulant, and even if you have an early supper, it can interfere with rest, because it takes about six hours for the body to eliminate just half of the caffeine.
Too Much Tech
If your child’s phone is glued to their hands during the evening hours, it may disrupt sleep. That’s because the blue light that cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic gadgets emit suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. Plus, if your child keeps their phone in the bedroom, late-night texts may keep them up hours past their bedtime. Establish a family rule that all cell phones get turned off or stored outside the bedroom at night.
While the disorder is typically thought of as an adult issue, one to four percent of children have sleep apnea. Talk to your pediatrician if you notice that your child snores frequently, tosses and turns throughout the night, has night sweats, or experiences pauses in breathing while she sleeps.