Dealing with Sleep Anxiety in Children: 7 Approaches for Parents

by Jason on August 20, 2011

Dealing with Sleep Anxiety in Children: 7 Approaches for Parents

Do you suspect that your child has trouble sleeping due to anxiety? Sleep anxiety in children can lead to emotional and physical problems. Their overall health suffers whenever they are unable to sleep peacefully.

For some children, general anxiety leads to insomnia. For others, the sleep anxiety includes nightmares and night terrors. Additional problems include teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Since no parent likes to see their child suffer from sleep anxiety, they’re always asking if there is anything they can do to help.

There is!

You can really help your child by understanding why they have trouble sleeping in the first place. What is causing them to feel anxious or frightened?

Common causes include:

• Anxiety about phobias

• Separation anxiety

• Hyperactivity

• Night terrors

• Post-traumatic stress

In many cases, phobias and traumas really aren’t that bad. Some children are afraid of almost everything. This anxiety can be a learned behavior or part of the child’s psychological makeup.

Even if the things your kid fears are trivial, such as bugs, losing a game, or being picked last at school, you should still offer him or her support. Since kids have limited knowledge and life experience, these small phobias could be life shattering.

So, what can you do to help? Here are a few approaches parents can take to deal with sleep anxiety in children:

1. Sometimes merely talking to them can help them. Let your children know that they can trust you to be supportive. Let them know that they can approach you about anything. Offer your support and help them come up with a solution to their problem. Encourage them to brainstorm so that they can deal with anything that comes their way. It will be easier for them to sleep when they have a solution to whatever is bothering them.

2. Keep your kid away from scary movies, negative TV programs, news channels, and violent video games. There is plenty of harmless entertainment that carries a positive message. If you read to them before they go to sleep, make sure you only read fun stories with happy endings. Older adolescents should be encouraged to read positive stories before they go to sleep.

3. If you have a younger child, don’t let him/her fall asleep while being rocked or held. This will become a habit and he/she won’t be able to sleep alone. Make it a routine to put children in bed whenever they’re feeling sleepy. Also, establish a bedtime every night – even on the weekends. They should get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every single day.

4. Diet plays a role in sleep anxiety. Feed your kids tryptophan and magnesium-rich foods. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in foods such as whole grain crackers and turkey. It’s a natural sedative. Foods rich in magnesium include wheat, oats, Brazilian nuts, and sunflower seeds.

5. Encourage your child to partake in exercise every evening. You can try taking him/her for a walk or a jog. On rainy days, you could put in a fun Nintendo Wii Sports or Dancing game. These are fun for adults and children alike. Exercising every evening will not only help your child sleep more, it’ll also relieve him/her of anxiety.

6. If your kid experiences night terrors, you can change the settings of his or her room. Change the furniture around and put up some nice, pleasant posters on the wall. These posters can include peaceful scenery, or even superheroes. Posters of superheroes will remind your child that they are protected, and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

7. Children can sleep better when they are hugged throughout the day. Give your kid daily reminders that he/she is loved and that you are always around for support. Also, try to maintain a positive attitude yourself. Kids who have happy, positive parents are less likely to experience sleep anxiety.

Now you have a better understanding of sleep anxiety in children! You can help your child to shatter their anxiety and fear almost instantly. You can change their life if you follow a simple four-step technique to help them sleep soundlessly.

This four-step program is right here:

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