Sleeping patterns in children change frequently and can be altered by many factors. Figuring out the underlying cause of sleep issues in children is important so it can be addressed appropriately. Common causes of sleep disturbances in children include: teething, cold/flus, ear infections, night terrors, anxiety/fears, bed wetting, and changes of sleep environment.
Regardless of the cause, here are 5 general tips to help your child get a good night’s sleep:
1. Keep a schedule: The body follows a natural rhythm and going to sleep at the same time each night promotes this rhythm and the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) at regular intervals.
2. Shut out the lights: Eliminate all sources of light in the room from windows, hallways, night lights, toys, baby monitors, alarm clocks and cell phones. Light inhibits melatonin production and will impair sleep.
3. Wind down in the evening: Doing activities which calm the nervous system rather than excite it can promote a good night’s sleep. Calming activities could include bath time, a tummy massage, listening to music, reading a book or cuddling.
4. Lavender essential oil: Adding a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to bathwater or a humidifier promotes relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
5. Chamomile: Adding a cup of brewed chamomile tea to bathwater calms the nervous system. Make sure it has cooled down! If your child is old enough they can drink chamomile tea before bed. Be mindful if your child has ragweed allergies because chamomile is part of the same family. If rash or digestive symptoms arise discontinue the chamomile immediately.