I am seeing an increasing number of children with sleep difficulties. Common themes seem to be problems dropping off at night and/or waking during the night or horribly early in the morning.
There can be numerous reasons for children not sleeping well, but inevitably lack of good quality sleep will have a knock-on effect on their behaviour. Some children suffering from lack of sleep may become hyper-active, and have problems concentrating at school. Others may become whingey and tearful. Whatever the outcome, the impact of poor sleep will affect the whole family.
There are some measures you can take to ensure that your child sleeps in an environment which is optimally designed for sleep.
- Ensure their room is a dark as possible, with black-out blinds or curtain linings. If the child is afraid of the dark, leave a low light on outside the room, with the door just ajar. Leave it like this all night, as if they wake in the dark they will be frightened.
- Download some alpha-wave music to an MP3 player, and play it on battery operated speakers in the child’s room. There is some music at www.silenceofmusic.com
- Ensure the room isn’t too warm, if possible. The ideal temperature is around 17°C at night, although we are all different so experiment to find the temperature that suits your child.
- Don’t let your child do strenuous exercise in the 2 hours before bed.
- Children should not play computer or handheld games immediately before bed, or read books which are too exciting. This will make dropping off to sleep difficult for them. Have half an hour of calm time before bed.
- Remove all electronic devices from their room, such as TVs, computers, electronic games (such as Nintendo DS), and mobile phones.
- Electrical appliances should be turned off at the socket.
- Don’t let your child use a mobile phone as an alarm clock. Some of the newer models of phones in particular, emit a signal even when turned off. A battery operated clock costs very little and parents will also benefit from not sleeping next to a mobile, as well as setting an example.
- Check that your child’s bed is not immediately above the fuse box (if it is, move the bed if possible).
- Don’t have a cordless phone near a child’s room (including immediately below their bed).
- If you have WIFI, turn it off at night, or better still, get wired in. Most people don’t use laptops in different parts of the house, and WIFI isn’t necessary much of the time.
We have no idea of the effects of much new technology on our brain waves, or those of our children, but it seems likely that the constant bombardment of electromagnetic waves will affect us all.
You wouldn’t put your child in a microwave, so do all you can to ensure they don’t live in a world of man-made electro-magnetic energy.
If your child still won’t sleep, homeopathy can be highly effective. Visit your local homeopath for a full consultation and the whole family will benefit.