Insomnia is a disorder of sleep, where the person experiences trouble to fall sleep or to stay asleep during night. The problem of falling asleep is not only restricted to adults, there are many babies and toddlers who wake up frequently at night.
Most often sleeplessness is linked with stress and depression of daily life which people think is only related to adults, but contrary to this belief, children too suffer from insomnia. Just as adults, it can also affect daytime functioning of a child.
Insomnia in children can be for a short while such as during sickness or it can persist for weeks and months if the child is depressed or has some psychological problem.Babies suffering from insomnia are often hyperactive and tend to sleep during the day. In older babies and toddlers this may affect their scholastic performance.
Maintaining proper sleep schedule, addressing medical problem, avoiding foods that cause bloating and gasses etc can help to reduce night waking in babies and toddlers.
Main Causes Of Insomnia In Babies
Children are no exception to adults who struggle to sleep. Insomnia can be frustrating both for the baby as well as for parents, sometime affecting relationship. There are many reasons that may be responsible for sleep disturbance in babies.
- Babies suffering from digestive problems and colicky pain at night.
- Teething period in babies. Often babies awake and cry during teething period due to pain and inflammation in the gums.
- Intestinal worms that causes itching in anus.
- Hunger during nighttime.
- Fever and minor illnesses can keep the child awake during night. For example bronchitis, asthma, stuffy nose, itching in eczema etc.
- Babies suffering from neurological conditions such as autism, mental retardation can also suffer from insomnia.
- Environmental problems such as extreme hot weather or too much cold, loud noise, uncomfortable bedding and mattress can keep the child awake instead of sound sleep.
- Fear, depression and stress, certain medications, can also cause sleep related problems in babies.
Signs And Symptoms Of Insomnia In Babies
The symptoms of insomnia in babies are not different from those of adults. Below are given important symptoms that may help the parents to identify if their baby is suffering from sleep disturbances.
- One of the characteristic symptoms of insomnia is staying awake during night. Some babies may wake up between the sleep and stay wake for few hours before sleeping for a while. Some babies wake up too early even if they sleep late at night.
- Baby is tensed and worrisome while sleeping.
- Regular sleepiness during daytime.
- Inattentive and lacks concentration.
- Frequent mood changes during daytime.
- Becomes aggressive easily.
Natural Remedies For Insomnia In Babies
Here are important treatment options for babies suffering from insomnia:
- Maintain sleep schedule among babies. They usually sleep for 8 to 10 hours at night, however the time period may vary for few hours. Encourage the baby to sleep at a particular schedule time every day. This will inculcate the habit of sleeping at right hours.
- Allow the baby to take few naps during daytime. It prevents over tiredness and helps him to have sound sleep at night.
- If excessive noise is the cause, allow him to sleep in silent place where sound does not distract his sleep.
- Keep the temperature of the bedroom comfortable for the baby to fall asleep.
- If your baby is taking certain medications that are known to cause insomnia, ask his doctor to change the medicine if that is the underlying reason.
- Avoid giving foods that cause allergy and intolerance. These foods may lead to gases and discomfort in the abdomen distracting sleep.
- Give small cup of milk one hour before the baby sleeps. Milk contains substances which help in inducing sleep.