Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Insomnia in our Children; Setting Limits Helps

Posted by amykr on June 2, 2009

sleeping mother and child2With the beginning of summer here and the end of the school year the need to consider our children’s habits while they are at home. Many children are home alone or home with older siblings and are limited in their activities. This can lead to issues that will increase health problems.

The sleeping pattern for a child is very important. During sleep they not only rest; they heal from injuries, grow and their minds process much of the information it accumulates during the day. The amount a child or teen needs is higher then an adult yet we treat our children as if they have the same needs as adults. Limit setting is sometimes difficult but is as necessary during the summer as the school year.

Here are a few tips for encouraging sleep in children:
• Set a strict bedtime for most days but allow for special occasions. This will keep them on a schedule and will reduce the need to adjust their schedule when school starts.
• Allow them to sleep in on the weekend. If your child has some sleep debt, a need the body has for extra sleep, it can help to be allowed to sleep in on certain days.
• Make sure that there room is dark and quiet. It is hard to go to sleep with excess light and noise. This does not allow the brain to settle down.
• Remove all electronics from the room. There are two problems with electronics such as game systems, television and computers, they are tempting to go back to when the patents leave, and using them right before they go to sleep will not allow the brain to prepare itself for sleep.
• Create a routine to help them unwind. If a child does the same routine every night they are set up for sleep success. A great routine would start with sitting quietly about 30 minutes before bed and read or be read to, then go brush their teeth, change into sleep clothes, get a glass of water for the bedside table ( will eliminate the “I’m thirsty” call), turn off the lights and get into bed.

Parents want what is best for their children. It is essential that we work with them to succeed in all areas of their life. Helping them to get enough sleep will help them to learn better, be healthier and be happier.

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ADD/ADHD and Sleep

Posted by amykr on March 15, 2009

This is an area that has  not had enough research.  The general consensus is that either ADD causes sleep disturbances like insomnia and fragmented sleep (sleep that is not continuous.) Or that sleep deprivation can bring on the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.  So how do you know what to look for?  How do you know what came first?

The first thing is to look for obvious signs of a sleep disorder.  Does your child snore?   If you listen to your child and when they snore you hear interruptions followed by gasping you might be hearing sleep apnea.  These issues can be caused from enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies or obesity. 

There could also be a condition called restless leg syndrome.  This is a creepy crawly sensation in the legs or arms that makes your child feel like they have to move.  It usually happens in the evening and continues through bed time.

These issues cause sleep deprivation because it will disrupt sleep, delay the onset of sleep and can prevent deep slow wave sleep or REM sleep, the stage when you dream.  The side effects of sleep deprivation are fatigue, irritability, inattentiveness, and in children sometimes aggression. 

The best thing you can do is start by talking to your doctor about any sleep issues your child might have.  You might also want to talk about any other health issues such as asthma, allergies, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  There could also be side effects to medication. 

The best thing you can do is to help your child is to create a good sleep environment.  You set the best example.  Eliminate caffeine, increase exercise and outdoor play, not eating at least two hours before bed time, and avoiding sleeping medications help to increase your child’s sleepiness. 

Create a room for sleep.  Have room darkening curtains on the windows, this will also help to keep noise out.  Do not have a television in your child’s room, the stimulation from it will not allow the brain to prepare for sleep. 

Finally, a hot bath and a routine that you follow each night will help your child and his mind get ready for bed.  The routine teaches the brain this is what we do for bed so its time to quiet down.  The hot bath and the body cooling down afterwords is a cure to the brain that it is sleep time. 

In the end there is no concrete rule that sleep causes ADD/ADHD or that ADD/ADHD causes sleep problems.  As more research is done we will get more answers that will help children to sleep and learn optimally.

 

Sites where you can get more information

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-sleep-disorders?

http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com/blog/sleepdisorders/sleep-disorders-in-children-with-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/

http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/adhd.html

Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been in the respiratory field for over twenty years. She has worked in all areas and is currently focusing on sleep and how to help the community feel better by sleeping better. She is the manager of Emery Sleep Solutions an independent testing facility located in Apopka, Florida. She is also the coordinator of A.W.A.K.E. Orlando a support group for people with sleep disorders http://awakeorlando.ning.com.  If you have any questions about sleep or are looking for someone to speak at your community function she can be reached at areavis@emerymedicalsolutions.com


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