People with irregular shift work such as doctors, nurses, polices, soldiers or security guards usually well understand the problem of cannot get a wink of sleep. When you do shift work, you still have a chance for sleeping on the next day. People who have kids with sleep problems may face a bigger problem than shift work people because they likely do shift work every day without day off. When kid does not sleep, most parent also cannot sleep (some father may not awake but all mothers can absolutely not leave her kid awake alone). Less sleep and have to continue working as usual, most parents may suffer from fatigue and lower work concentration. The sleep problems in children may start from leaving from hospital to pre-school age. So let’s learn of the sleep habit in childhood.
Sleeping and Child Development
Sleep plays a massive factor in a child’s development. The study reveals that infants sleep more than 12 hours per day. They usually wake up and cry every 3 – 4 hours which are related with their hungriness. Infants want to be fed about 3 – 4 hours so it is normal for them to wake every 3 – 4 hours at night. During this period, parent will usually be tried; however, when infants are growing they will sleep longer. About 70% of 3 months old babies will sleep longer almost the entire night. Many 4 months old babies are capable for sustained sleep 8 hours in row. So, when the children are 3 – 4 months, many parents will be easier. However, some babies still have a problem of awakenings at night. The cause of problem is over feeding such as parents feed their baby every 1 - 2 hours or feeding every crying so baby will cry for feeding as same as daytime (Trained night feeders).
One more problem is parent responses to every crying with feeding (Training night crier). This behavior is usually occurred in many families. Many parents immediately feed their babies whenever they have a big or small crying at night time. This behavior will cause their babies awakening for feeding at night and inappropriate sleep of babies and insufficient sleep of parents. When the roof of baby’s mouth is touched by a nipple – either from a breast or bottle, the baby will begin to suck automatically (Sucking reflex). It causes the child to instinctively suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth. When the suck begins, babies will stop crying because they cannot suck and cry at the same time. The repeat of such reflex makes many parents misunderstand that their babies crying because of being hungry. The babies will also familiar with awakening for milk feeding at night. To reduce the problems of baby crying at night, you should follow an instruction as mention above such as finding a cause of crying e.g. pee-pee, poo-poo, too hot or too cold. If you cannot find cause of crying, you may gently and slowly do butt-drumming or thigh or hold your baby. If your baby does not stop crying, try to feed some water from milk bottle. Many babies can sleep without milk feeding.
Tips to Help Your Kid Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Always Keep Your Kid Sleep on Mattress or Crib: Don’t cuddle your kid until they fall asleep in your arms, Put your baby to bed or mattress before he or she has fallen asleep. Some parents have usually cuddled and rocked their kid for hours to sleep that will all eventually backfire. The kid is growing and gaining weight every day, the cuddling and rocking-to-sleep technique may cause parent have back pain problem.
- Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: Make the bed room relative quiet, cool, darkening shades and turn off the light and TV.
- Do Not Create Much Excitement or Play with Kid Too Much Before Bedtime: Some fathers work very hard and back home late. Although playing with kid is good, playing too much can make your child feel fun and exciting which may affect to the sleep. You may change your activity to reading some fairy tales or making easy conversation to make your kid feel relax and fall asleep.
Baby Waking Through the Night
Some babies may have problem of waking through the night which is they do not sleep at night but will sleep long in day time. This problem usually occurs in infant with one or two months of age. Most causes of problem are baby’s brain that controls on sleeping have not fully developed. This problem will gradually decrease when the baby growing. However, there are some tips to change your baby’s sleep patterns. Parents should avoid all stimulating activities with their babies and try making the soft cuddle or butt-drumming. Avoid the cuddling of your kid and walking back and forth. If your kid want to play with you (at night), do not spoil. This problem will be improved and your baby will sleep at night time as normal.
Child with Late Wake Up
It is quite unbelievable that I had ever met a two year olds child that sleep very late. The child usually sleeps at 1 a.m. and wake up at 10 a.m. His parents are merchants of night market and finish working closely to midnight. The child usually waits to play with parents. When the parent turns off the light for sleeping, the child is starting cry. The parents then spoil their child; therefore, the child has gradually going to bed later each night. Somehow problem of sleeping cause from poor sleeping habit of the parents such as watching television or using computer until late at night so theirs child will familiar with late sleeping. The disadvantage of late sleeping is growth hormone disruption. Growth hormone is usually released only during deep sleep at night not at morning or late morning. Therefore, children should sleep before 10 p.m. The children with poor sleep habit should gradually change their wake up time such as from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and to 9:00 a.m., respectively. The children will get sleepy faster so the parents will let their kids go to bed earlier from midnight to 11:30 p.m. and to 11:00 p.m., respectively. The sleeping environment should also be comfortable as mention above.
Sleep terror are normal in children aged 2 – 6 years: A sleep terror is a partial waking from sleep with behavior such as frightening scream, intense crying, sweat, racing pulse. This most often occurs during early in the night after the first few hours of sleep, whereas normal nightmares occur towards the end of a night’s sleep or early morning. Night terrors differ from nightmares. Many parents usually wake, hold and rock their kids that are not appropriate. Night terror typically occurs during Non REM Sleep, children usually don’t remember anything about their sleep. If parents wake their children, will cause them getting more frightened. The common way for parents to handle this symptom is to simply wait it out. You might gently cuddle or butt-drumming and try to get him or her back to sleep. If your kid is still screaming and shouting, you may embrace the kid for a while and get back to bed shortly. Sleep terror is considered to be commonplace in young children with incidence reducing as they grow older. However, if you notice any sign of uncommon crying, please consult your doctor.
Anyone has ever experience nightmares. Nightmares are common in children aged 3 to 6 years old because this is the age at which normal fears develop and child’s imagination is very active. Nightmares involve frightening dreams such as escaping from ghost or evil, falling from height or death. Nightmares tend to happen during REM sleep that is a period which your child is able to remember and describe the dream to you. It usually occurs during early morning which is different from sleep terror that usually occurs during early in the evening and in the early part of the night.
Sleep problems in childhood is common and different from problems in adult. If the parents well understand the problems and try to prevent the causes of problem or consult doctor for the right treatment, the development and health of your children will typically be improved.