Sleep issues with our kids are something parents dread. Especially when it’s 3am, and your child is starting to stir…again, just when you finally fell back to sleep. You lay in bed. Waiting and hoping that they didn’t actually yell for you for the fourth time. Then you hear it, “Mooooooom! Daaaaaad!”.
With a heavy sigh, you get out of bed to comfort your little one.
Does this sound familiar to you? It is becoming increasingly common to hear parents talk about sleep issues with their children. Some have struggles with falling asleep. Some can fall asleep but then are up three to five times a night. And others, it’s both. Whatever the sleep struggle, it often leads to exhaustion for not only the child, but often, the whole family.
Parents tend to think that when an infant doesn’t sleep well, that they will grow out of it, and for some kids that is true, but what happens when your child is 2 or 3 or 7 and they are still having trouble sleeping?
Nobody feels at their best if they don’t get enough sleep, but did you know that not getting proper sleep is so much more than that? Our bodies use sleep to heal, grow, and recover. When we don’t get enough regular sleep, our bodies can’t heal. We snap at people. We aren’t focused. For kids, lack of sleep can present as behavioral struggles and seemingly frequent illness.
Sleep helps our body recharge.
Like we already mentioned, sleep is so much more than simply closing your eyes for 8-12 hours at night. Our body does so many important things when we sleep. It is the growth, development, and immune system re-charger. The key to getting sleep is to find out why your child isn’t sleeping in the first place.
The inability to sleep occurs when the brain is unable to calm down. If the brain can’t calm, you cannot move to REM sleep, which is the deep sleep that allows our brain to heal our body and charge for the next day.
Here are steps that you can take to help your child get a better night’s sleep:
- Limit screen time before bed. Electronics cause a release similar to cocaine in the brain! 1-2 hours before bedtime, take the screen away.
- Take time to wind down before bed. Our fast-paced routines make the brain think that we are always go, go, go. Taking time to wind down, will help to calm the brain, letting it know that it is time to rest.
- Get them outside to play! Exercise is a great way to provide stimulation to use the energy the body creates throughout the day. Go for a bike ride, play at the park, or go play tag!
- The brain is constantly working throughout the day. Break up brain work like puzzles and reading with physical activity. This gives the brain time to rest and recharge a little throughout the day.
- Get your child’s spine and nervous system checked at a pediatric chiropractor! Your child cannot tell you if they have a spine or nervous system problem. The spine and nervous system control everything that happens within your child’s body. If the nervous system is not able to communicate properly with the brain, it cannot tell the brain it is time to sleep!
Let’s get to the root of the sleep issues with our kids.
Changing routines and the environment can help your family to sleep better, but sometimes it feels like you have tried everything and they still don’t sleep. If there is a miscommunication within their nervous system, they won’t be able to sleep well. By correcting that miscommunication, the brain and body connection is restored, and most often sleep improves! Stories like Johanna’s are why we do what we do! We love working with families to get the answers and action steps they’ve been searching for!