Dark circles. Heavy eyelids. Groggy mind. Physical exhaustion. Deep sighs.
That means one thing: sleep trouble.
Either they aren’t sleeping through the night, or their kids are waking them up while the moon is still in the sky.
Babies and sick kids get a free pass because, well, infants get hungry and no one sleeps well when they are under the weather. Night after sleepless night is exhausting and shouldn’t be the norm. Check to see if one of these six remedies will help.
How much sleep your child actually needs
First of all, let’s cover how much hours your child should be accruing under the sheets.
Most children need approximately 9-12 hours of sleep every night. The National Sleep Foundation outlines the following suggestions:
- Toddlers ages 1-2: average 11-14 hours (minimum of 9, maximum of 16)
- Preschoolers ages 3-5: average 10-13 hours (minimum 8, maximum 14)
- Young children ages 6-13: average 9-11 hours (minimum 7, maximum 12)
- Teenager ages 14-17: average 8-10 hours (minimum 7, maximum 11)
- Young adults ages 17-25: average 7-9 hours (minimum 6, maximum 11)
Adult bodies and brains are fully developed, while pediatrics are still growing faster than a beanstalk. And they will keep maturing until age 25, which marks the official end of adolescence. No wonder they need so much more sleep than us—their bodies work harder during the day and require a visit to dream land in order to recharge and reboot.
When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m crabby and sluggish. If I miss a few hours, I can manage for the day and hop in bed early that night. Are you the same way?
I bet your kids get weary too when they don't accrue enough hours of shut-eye—except they probably can’t hide their sleep-deprivation as well as you can.
Your daughter gets unruly. Your son gets wild. As bedtime approaches, your kids are as bubbly as a freshly popped bottle of bubbly. Eventually the bubbles simmer down and the drink gets flat, and your kids should calm down as the moon rises too.
6 reasons why your child may not be sleeping through the night
Is your child awake and alert as the night morphs to morning? Does he stir after a few hours of sleep? Does she not stay asleep until morning? Here are six things that might be contributing to their insomnia.
- Anxiety, fear, or stress
Do you have trouble sleeping when you’re worried? Think back to your days of final exams, job interviews, or the first day of school. When you’re anxious, fearful, or stressed, insomnia seems to be your close friend.
Your child probably can’t express their fears, anxieties, or the reasons for their stress, but those things have a tangible influence on your kid’s overall health.
Consider the state of your family right now.
- Any major life changes like a new sibling, a new house, a new school, or a new routine?
- Any illness like a grandparent in the hospital or a fresh diagnosis or a sick pet?
- Any scary stories like a television show, movie, or chapter book?
- Any vague circumstances that your child may not comprehend like a contagious virus, canceled summer camp, or upcoming political election?
Hopefully something came to mind, even if you feel like your life is normal. Here’s an example of why you need to pause on this point.
When my husband was about four years old, his grandmother fell and broke her leg. She had surgery and he refused to visit her while she was recovering in the hospital. His parents had no idea why he wouldn’t go see her, so my mother-in-law had him draw a picture of grandma.
It wasn’t his talented art skills that blew them away, it was what he drew: grandma laying in a bed with only one leg...her other leg was laying on the ground. He thought people’s legs broke just like action figures: by literally detaching from the body.
Have your child draw a picture of your life and see what those artistic details communicate and how they might be impacting their sleep habits.
You have probably noticed that it’s hard to sleep when you’re either sweating or shivering. So, how is the temperature in your child’s bedroom?
Make sure your thermostat hovers around room temperature. Use lightweight sheets and pajamas during the warm weather and flannel ones during the cold months. Turn a fan on low to keep the air circulating, and invest in a humidifier during the dry season.
- Light and noise
The latest airplanes are equipped with LED lights that gradually dim and brighten to help passengers adjust to a new time zone. If you’re on a 12+ hour international flight, comfort, quiet, and darkness are essential if you’re going to get any sleep.
Pretend like your kids are on a long flight. How can you cover up light coming in the windows? Does your child need a nightlight? Would water noises, soft music, or static sounds to help your child stay asleep?
- Food and drink
It’s hard to go to bed with a rumbling belly or parched mouth. Prevent your child from having the nighttime belly groans or a dry mouth with a bedtime snack. A few crackers or a small piece of fruits are just enough. Don’t forget a few ounces of water or milk to wash it down. (Avoid getting woken up in the middle of the night by keeping a leak-proof water bottle on their nightstand!)
Are you thinking? “They eat all day. They don’t need to eat again!” Dinner was hours ago and their little bodies require frequent fuel.
Hint: avoid giving your kids caffeine or sugar after dinner.
- Restless thoughts and body
Counting sheep doesn’t always do the trick. But a workout session might. Set a timer for five minutes after dinner so your kids can get all of their energy out! Dance to music, take a family walk, play tag, jump on the trampoline—do whatever gets out all of their giggles and wiggles before bedtime!
6. The best solution: a weighted blanket
Sure, we might be a bit biased here, but hear us out. Your child’s growing body needs food, sleep, and plenty of love. You provide the food and love, we will help with the sleep.
Try a weighted blanket. It’s a small investment that yields huge results.
- Kids who have trouble sleeping gain increased sleep quality when they use a weighted blanket.
- Using a weighted blanket helps your child fall asleep faster.
- School activities, behavior, and concentration improve after a kid sleeps under a weighted blanket.
- Calming down before bedtime and staying asleep all night long are also a benefit of kids who sleep with a weighted blanket.
- Using a weighted blanket at night will help your child feel more comfortable, have a better quality of sleep, move around less while sleeping, and feel more secure in their bed.
- The best benefit is that your child will be more refreshed tomorrow morning. In their words, “I have a calmer night’s sleep.”
Worried your kid won’t like the gentle pressure and weight? Researchers say that most children “respond positively” and more-than-tolerate to this type of intervention. And years of studies show that using a weighted blanket helps kids fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, wake up less often, and feel well-rested the next morning. Parents and kids alike favor weighted blankets.
Can’t sleep? Try a weighted blanket.
We thought about children like yours when we produced our Hush Kids Weighted Blankets. It’s better than your friend in bed next to you at a sleepover. It’s more comforting than a beloved stuffed animal. It’s more soothing than a sound machine. Goldilocks knew what she was talking about, “It’s just right!”Give your kid the sleep they deserve. Order a Hush Kids Weighted Blanket today!