Sleep is surprisingly hard work.
While there are the few lucky people who can fall asleep anywhere, most of us need the environment we are in to be just right to fall asleep naturally - and, most importantly - stay asleep. Too hot, too cold, too light, too noisy, uncomfortable bed, overtiredness, too much caffeine, too much screen time, worries on our mind, hungry, thirsty, needing the toilet - as adults, these are all issues that prevent us from getting enough good quality sleep. Not enough good quality sleep leaves us feeling cranky and lethargic and is not good for our mental health or wellbeing.
But what about kids?
We expect babies not to sleep very well, but once they hit toddlerhood, we all live in the hope that they will go to bed and go down without too much fuss and stay asleep until a decent hour. Many kids don’t quite get that memo - and continue to have issues with sleep as they move through their childhood. Here, we look at some of the most common sleep problems you might find in children and some /ways to overcome them.
Toddlers and younger children
As adults, disruption to our routine can throw us out entirely, so imagine the effect it has on our kids? This issue is not restricted to a particular age but is most common in toddlers. A range of things can cause it: maybe they have had teething problems or have been unwell, which has disrupted their sleep, or perhaps mum has finished her maternity leave has gone back to work. These things can affect how a child sleeps, even if it seems like they are dealing with it well. Throw in huge developmental leaps - learning to walk, talk and so on - can make them want to stay awake and practise their newly learnt skills.
The best way to deal with this is to cut them a bit of slack temporarily. As with most things in parenting - it is a phase, and it will pass...eventually. There are some ways of helping them transition through it, though. Try to get back into your routine as quickly as possible and make sure that their sleep environment is as near perfect as possible. Maybe start with a soothing pre-bed bath and a warm, milky drink, followed by a cuddle and giving their pillow a squirt of Dream Spray - a simply magical spray that contains lavender for sleep. Lavender is known for its sleep-inducing properties and smells just divine too.
Older children and teens
Sleep doesn’t become easy as soon as you move into a big bed. No - sometimes it can get more challenging as you get older. Older children and teenagers may struggle with worries and anxiety. Perhaps they are concerned about friendship issues or schoolwork. As they move into that all-tricky adolescent age, relationships and the need to conform to peer pressure all come into play.
Talking to them about their worries and anxieties can be helpful. If they are not comfortable talking about them, encourage them to write them down and put them away in a box or the bin. Discourage screen time at least an hour before bed, and if you have a coffee-drinking teen, get them to put down the coffee after lunch. Again, Dream Spray can help to relax them and help them drift off into a deep and natural sleep, leaving them to feel much better and deal with issues the next day.