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Of course, we want our children to sleep early in the night and wake up late in the morning – without much of a fuss. It is a dream come true for every parent, and for good reasons. According to science, sleep is a crucial requirement for children to achieve childhood development milestones, and grow into healthy adults. However, the reverse seems to be happening in your case. Your child is not sleeping at night or is having inconsistent sleep patterns. He or she wakes up quite early in the morning, and sometimes even before you.
Something must be wrong you imagine and are searching for answers.
Assuming you have eliminated sickness as a reason for the sleeping disorder, the answers are probably around the corner if only you pay attention. The sleeping hiccup usually happens because of the lifestyle at home, the bedroom set, the environment, and what you are doing WRONGLY as a parent!
If your baby is not sleeping at night or is up by 5.00 am, then probably the following could be the reasons:
1. Your Child is Sleeping Too Early!
Wait a moment, is this even possible?
Yes, your child probably sleeps too early and is overreaching the total number of hours he or she is meant to spend sleeping. We all know how far the health experts and pediatricians can go to drill into ur heads sleep song. Let them sleep early, they say, and for many hours. On and on they sing about sleep. But wait a moment, maybe we are demanding too much sleep from children!
Question is, how many hours should children sleep, and two, how early is too early to sleep, and how early is it too early to wake up?
Whereas an infant is comfortable sleeping the whole night, the 7-year-old will find it hard to stretch from 7.00 pm to 7.00 am. Sometimes 9.00 pm is too early for that age group and will comfortably sleep-off at 10.00 pm.
The Recommended Sleeping Hours for Children
According to webmd, the following sleep guidelines should apply for children up to 18 years.
|0 – 1||14 – 16|
|1 -3||12 – 14|
|3 – 6||10 – 12|
|6 – 12||9 – 11|
|12 – 18||8 – 9|
In view of the above, kids up to 2 years can go to sleep as early as 7.00 am and stretch way beyond 7.00 am without much of a fuss. Understandably, they will wake up every 2 to 3 hours for mom’s milk. But they dive back into sleep soon after.
On the other hand, the 7-year-old boy may wake up as early as 4.00 am if he slept at 7.00 pm! He will only wake up at 7.00 am if he slept at 9.00 or even 10.00 pm.
Of course, there is the matter of growth spurts to consider, which will make children sleep a little longer every now and then. Longer sleep hours during these moments allow body organs to grow in height and weight.
On the other end, we should never expect to have a perfect sleeping pattern either. Instead of 8 hours, for example, the 7 to 16-year child may sleep for 7 and a half hours, or even 7. That is fine as long as it does not happen daily.
2. Your Child Naps During The day
Now, while the 1-year old baby will nap during the day and sleep at night, the case is different with a 7-year-old child.
At 7, children are wired to stay active during the day playing and attending school. If, however, there is plenty of nap time in the afternoon, this could be the reason why a baby is not sleeping at night.
Your child will sleep for only 7 hours, even less, after taking a 3-hour nap during the day.
Children should play, and attend classes during the day. The more active and productive they are during the day, the more likely they will sleep better and for long hours during the night.
3. Lack of Physical Activity During the Day
Lack of physical wellness in children can lead to just more than a sleep disorder. It can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular complications, poor attention span and general body weakness in the short and long run.
Lack of physical wellness will also contribute to a low bone density, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ensure your child receives the necessary physical wellness opportunities at home and school to achieve the following:
- Brain development and sharpness
- Fighting depression and anxiety
- General mental wellness
- Correct bone development
4. Your Child Takes Too Much Soda
Uncontrolled consumption of sugary beverages affects the sleep-wake cycle in children more than even coffee and alcohol.
Too much sugar intake makes children, and adults too, to sleep for less than 5 hours at night!
According to Science Direct,
Short sleep is associated with greater intake of sugared caffeinated sodas, a relationship that may have important, though unrecognized, implications for physical health …
Although caffeinated drinks could account for impaired sleep, it is possible that short sleep could influence one’s appetitive drive for sugared caffeine drinks.
On its own consumption of sweetened beverages also leads to obesity which in itself denies children proper sleep. They also lead to cavities in the teeth, and at a later stage, diabetes.
5. Your Child Eats A lot of Junk Food
Besides soda and other caffeinated drinks, the consumption of junk food before sleep also leads to poor sleep quality.
This is particularly so if children eat only junk instead of nutrient-rich foods. Junk food is full of simple sugars that stimulate the insulin hormone to regulate sugar levels in the blood.
How this works is that the body will quickly burn the sugars and soon after, demand more glucose. This will make the child hungry again an hour or so later.
In the event a child has eaten only JUNK, he or she will be hungry even before jumping into bed. The routine will repeat itself through the night and will necessitate feeding while sleeping. This is bad for digestion.
Conventionally, children should eat the RIGHT food an hour or two before jumping into bed.
6. Noise Pollution in The Bedroom
There is no doubt sleep and noise are not good bedfellows. This is especially so if the noise is persistent throughout the night. Noise has become part of our lifestyle as urbanization becomes the norm all around the world. It is incumbent upon parents to ensure children get good and noise-less sleep most of the time.
Environmental noise pollution from heavy machines, cars, and other sources is known to fail children, even adults, from reaching the Rapid eye movement sleep stage. This will eventually disrupt the Rem and Non-Rem sleep stages, crucial for development in children.
According to Science Direct,
Nocturnal environmental noise also provokes measurable biological changes in the form of a stress response, and clearly affects sleep architecture, as well as subjective sleep quality.
You can get rid of noise pollution in the bedroom of your child by doing the following:
- Switch off entertainment systems in the house when children go to sleep, and ask your neighbors to do the same
- Change the bedroom location or housing to a quiet neighborhood if you feel yours is noisy
- Always take your children for hearing checkup every now and then if you EVEN suspect hearing issues
7. Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR)
The existence of electromagnetic radiation in the bedroom could be the reason your baby is not sleeping at night. It will make your child wake up quite regularly.
EMR affects children more because their brains are more fragile and tender. They contain more water in their tissues which become more vulnerable from the effects of electromagnetic radiation.
EMR or the larger scope of EMF in the bedroom is present in four sources. Study and eliminate them!
They are, according to Dr. Mercolaand other sources:
- Radiofrequency fields (RF) emitted by cell phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, smart meters, wireless, etc.
- Electric fields created as a result of electric wiring, power sockets & connections, power cables with two prongs instead of three, etc.
- Dirty electricity from transient energy devices such as energy saver bulbs, mobile power banks, dimmer switches, etc.
- Magnetic fields emitted by house wiring and errors, overhead power lines, current on grounding systems, etc.
If there is extreme emission of EMR inside your bedroom, you and your child may experience one or most of the following side effects:
- Memory issues
- hearing problems
- sight problems
- sleep disorder
Get rid of EMF devices from your bedroom: You may want to do the following if your baby is not sleeping at night:
- Do not keep computers and cell phones in your child’s bedroom
- Remove Wi-Fi devices in the bedroom
- No charging in the bedroom
- Avoid overhead power line on top or near the bedroom
- Do not use energy-saver bulbs
- Get rid of dimmer switches
- Avoid poor grounding
- Do not charge devices in the bedroom
8. Technology in The Bedroom
Of course, tech is good for children who are growing and living in the 21st Century. There is absolutely no way they will live without playing games, at a young age, and connecting with friends as they age.
As much as this is true, it is important to assess both positives and negatives and balance between the two.
Excessive use of tech devices exposes your child to plenty of health and social related side effects. This will lead to a beating in the attention span and thus affect school performance.
The most problematic side effect is related to sleep patterns. Screen time in the bedroom is known to interfere with the melatonin hormone which is never released when the brain detects light in the bedroom. The hormone is crucial for regulating sleep and wake cycle, thus allowing the body to undergo organ growth and repair.
Tech in the bedroom also adds to the levels of EMF in the bedroom.
It is important to let your child understand these dangers and to learn to balance between them and other aspects of life.
Finally, do not allow children to sleep with cell phones, game consoles, computers and other tech devices that may distract them from sleep. Kids will use them whether they tell you they do or they don’t.
You should also lead by example by not abusing the same tech devices. You will not be able to control their usage if you are uncontrollably in the first place. be a good parent
Your baby is not sleeping at night because of these other reasons
- Light in the bedroom
- Poor bedding
- Hot or cold bedroom
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