Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens (cont.)

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What are some ways I can help my child or teenager get a better night's sleep?

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These "do's" are adapted from "Sleep Problems: Your Child" University of Michigan Health Care System.

  1. Make bedtime a special time. Create special soothing and calming experiences with the opportunity for special "talks" or sharing experiences that foster comfort for both child and parent.
  2. Study your child so you can determine when he is ready to sleep. Once this is determined you can start the "get ready for bed" routine with enough time in advance so the child doesn't get a "second wind".
  3. Keep the bedtime routine consistent and simple. Mental and physical stimulation is counter productive.
  4. Keep the bedtime routine portable. For example, it can occur whether at home or outside of the home (for example, in a motel during vacation).
  5. Make sure your child is both mentally and physically tired at the end of the day. Children need between 30 to 60 minutes per day of vigorous playtime (depending on the age). Besides fostering good sleep habits, such a program will help maintain optimum weight gain.
  6. Establish a restful atmosphere. keep the lights dim, limit noise and electronic devices. Teens should turn off computers/TV's and cell phones when retiring to bed.

What are some "dont's" for getting my child or teen to sleep?

These "dont's" are adapted from "Sleep Problems: Your Child" University of Michigan Health Care System.

  1. Don't put your child to bed with a bottle of juice, milk or formula. Sugar in such drinks promotes tooth decay. Water is acceptable.
  2. Don't fill up the bed with toys. Limit the crib/bed to one to two "special" items. Too many items are over stimulating and the child will have a hard time not playing with them. Eliminate any object that might be a safety hazard.
  3. Don't threaten to send your child to bed as a punishment. Bedtime should be an enjoyable experience that will promote falling asleep in a timely fashion.
  4. Avoid caffeine before bed:Caffeinated drinks such as cola, chocolate, iced tea, etc.
  5. Limit TV in the afternoon and at night. TV stimulation may carry on longer than you suspect. Having a TV in a child's room may be counterproductive to getting your child or teen to sleep.

Medically reviewed by Douglas Barton, MD; Board Certified Pediatrics

REFERENCES:

eMedicineHealth.com. Night Terrors.
<http://www.emedicinehealth.com/night_terrors/article_em.htm>

eMedicineHealth.com. Narcolepsy.
<http://www.emedicinehealth.com/narcolepsy/article_em.htm>


Ferber, Richard. Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. United States: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group., May 2006.

Karp, Harvey. The Happiest Baby on the Block. United States: Random House Publishing Group, May 2003.

Pantely, Elizabeth. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. United States: McGraw-Hill, March 2002.

Stanford University. Children and Sleepwalking
<http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/slpwalking.html>

University of Michigan Health System. Sleep Problems.
<www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/sleep.htm#list>

www.drhull.com. Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions©. Confusional Arousals


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2014

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