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How to make sure your child is getting enough sleep

Watching TV late at night or spending more time on laptops, cellphones and digital games is the main reason for insomnia among children. Children may sleep late at night, but need to rise early to attend school.

kids and sleep
Good quality sleep is essential for kids. (Source: Getty Images)

By Mohmad Yusuf N Sheikh

Insomnia, considered a disease that occurs at a mature age, has been observed affecting children as well, having an impact on their physical and mental development. Even in the world of Ayurveda, sufficient sleep is considered necessary for the psychological and physical wellbeing of any child.

Every parent wants their child to be healthy. For attaining physical strength and muscular growth, rest is essential, along with adequate sleep. While parents take care of their child’s hobbies and physical exercise, they forget to monitor their sleeping patterns. As a result, the child becomes a victim of Insomnia. According to research conducted by the American Sleep Foundation, children attending school are required to take eight hours of sleep each day. But due to modern lifestyle and social, physical problems, children cannot sleep adequately and hence fall prey to insomnia.

Why is it necessary for children to get adequate sleep?

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During sleep, the digestive system, liver and kidney function of the body get time to work correctly and regenerate any damage in our body. The brain receives oxygen from the body, which it stores for tasks the next day. Dreams are also a way of processing the goings-on of the day. Children are generally more active, both physically and mentally, as compared to adults. Therefore, little ones require more time to rest their body as their internal organs need to do more work, for which sufficient sleep is necessary. If sound sleep, which includes dreams, is not enjoyed by children, it can leave side effects or even affect their memory.

What are the problems associated with insomnia?

The effect of lack of sleep is visible on children’s behaviour as well. As a result, symptoms of irritability, as well as weakening memory, headache, irritation in the eyes and lethargy can be observed. The weakening of the digestive tract is also a frequently occurring problem. Insomnia, if not detected or attended to in time, can lead to symptoms of serious illness like Hyperactive Nocarlepsy or a “sleeping trance”, which can lead to sudden falls and the possibility of injury. Children suffering from insomnia are also unable to concentrate on studies, which leads to an inferiority complex as well.

What are the reasons for insomnia?

Watching TV late at night or spending more time on laptops, cellphones and digital games is the main reason for insomnia among children. At the same time, due to their busy lifestyle and lack of awareness of the importance of sleep, parents tend to not focus on the problem. Children may sleep late at night, but need to rise early to attend school. Guests, late-night dinner parties, shift duties of parents that force them to return late at night are some significant reasons for a child’s sleep being disturbed. On the other hand, physical problems during sleep such as snoring, snoring, tonsils in children can also be a cause of insomnia. Family feuds between parents or close ones, school-related problems, nightmares are also responsible for causing disturbances in proper sleep.

What can parents do?

If the child shows signs of insomnia, then do not neglect him. In such a situation, consult a doctor first. If there are no physical problems, it is necessary to make a meaningful effort to make the child understand the importance of adequate sleep and bring about a change in his lifestyle. Parents should restrict the time to watch TV, mobile gaming or working on a computer for the child. Parents should also try to stay away from the TV and mobile phones after a set time, which can set an example for children. Do not let children stay awake late in the night except for exams or unusual circumstances. At the same time, encourage the child to play or do some physical exercise in the evening. Tiredness will inculcate a habit of sleeping early in the child. Do not let the child rest for too long in the afternoon or else he will not tend to feel sleepy at night.

Lying in bed about half an hour before bedtime is beneficial for children who sleep with their parents. Tell younger children exciting and inspirational stories so that they can revisit them in their dream period. Making a prayer before bedtime can also help children sleep better and more quickly.

Ayurveda is a good alternative for insomnia

It is often seen that to treat the problem of insomnia, therapists give sleep remedy medicines for children, which may not be the best alternative, as it can have side-effects. In such cases, parents can consider Ayurveda treatments as well.

(The writer is founder of Kudrati Ayurved Health Center.)