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Quality sleep is essential to a child’s well-being. How is a sleep problem resolved in children, both big and small?
Sleep problems can affect children of all ages—babies who can only fall asleep in their parents’ arms, children who wake up too often for a “wee”, teens who are unable to fall asleep before the late hours of the night—are examples of potentially problematic situations where sleep is out of reach.
Quality of sleep is of pivotal importance at all stages of development. A number of factors influence a child’s sleep needs, including age. A newborn needs between 16 and 20 hours of sleep for a 24-hour period, while a child of 3 to 5 years of age needs about 11 to 12 hours sleep. Adolescents require roughly 9 hours sleep.
Parents know just how much a lack of sleep can affect a child. The potential consequences are numerous and include, among others:
Everyone has experienced temporary sleep problems, but it is the recurrence of the problem and the consequences it has on quality of life, well-being, and on the child’s health or activities that warrants the use of the term “insomnia” or “sleep disorder”.
Many factors can compromise quality of life and how long children sleep. Here are a few examples:
How to manage a sleep disorder depends on several factors, including its nature, severity, recurrence, causes and consequences. Each situation has a solution, but you shouldn’t standby in the sidelines if your child is unable to get a good night’s sleep. The first step is to identify the cause(s) and to try to fix it. A healthcare professional can help you evaluate the situation and find the appropriate solutions.
The best and most beneficial strategies to remedy a sleep problem are to change habits, behaviours or the environment. Unless otherwise indicated by a healthcare professional, never give your child medication to remedy a sleep disorder, even if it’s an over-the-counter medication or a natural health product.
Here are a few examples of things you can do to help your child sleep better:
Remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you with any questions related to your child’s health and well-being.
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