Bedtime Woes: Coping with Children's Sleep Disorders

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Coping with Children's Sleep Disorders

The scream was blood curdling. With heart pounding, Bonnie lurched from her bed and rushed to her daughter's room. Eight-year-old Alana was having a nightmare, her second in a week.
Alarmed at the intensity of the dreams and perplexed as to the cause, Bonnie took Alana, normally a peaceful sleeper, to the family doctor.
After giving Alana a thorough check up, the physician told Bonnie and Alana that the bad dreams were likely nothing to worry about. Nightmares, she told them, often occur for no known reason and are a relatively common phenomenon among younger children. In the vast majority of cases, children outgrow nightmares.
Nightmares are not the only sleep disorders to affect children. Boys and girls can be afflicted with bouts of insomnia or bed-wetting. Sleepwalking too can be a problem for children, particularly boys between the ages of six and 12.
If a sleep disorder is severe, occurs for weeks at a time or affects a child's daily life, a parent would be advised to seek professional advice.
Yet most disorders can be treated by adherence to a regular routine. All children benefit from a consistent bedtime pattern, which includes a period of quiet time prior to actually going to bed.
Parents of a child who is having trouble sleeping will also want to make sure that their youngster is getting enough sleep. Recommended sleep amounts range from 16 hours for newborns and 12 hours for toddlers and some pre-schoolers to 10 hours for children in grade school.

Credits: Algoma Family Services

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