Up to 25% of children suffer from insomnia or difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep. Children who are not getting adequate sleep may start to exhibit symptoms such as: irritability, aggressive behaviour, elevated levels of anxiety and impaired cognitive functioning.
Your child’s quality of sleep can be improved by adopting these basic techniques:
- Avoid exposure to PCs, laptops and handheld devices well in advance of bedtime. Research suggests that prolonged exposure to the blue light emitted from electronic screens inhibits the sleep chemical, melatonin, and tricks the brain into believing it is daytime.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and coke.
- Plan relaxing activities prior to bedtime, such as having a bath or reading quietly. Avoid exercise and other stimulating activities prior to bedtime.
- Adhere to a consistent bedtime routine. Children should go to bed and wake up at consistent times wherever possible.
- Children who suffer from anxiety about not being able to fall asleep, should be encouraged to resist looking at clocks or phones to see the time, as this tends to create more anxiety.