Dealing with Childhood Insomnia

Dealing with Childhood Insomnia

The great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.” While being a parent is stressful and tiring, so is being a kid. Even though well-enforced sleep habits do provide moms and dads with a little respite and some grown-up time, they also benefit the child by protecting against childhood insomnia.

Sleep directly impacts a child’s mental and physical development, and without enough of it, a child’s behavior and mood are adversely affected. The amount of sleep a child needs depends on the child’s age. Once a sleep schedule is established and becomes a habit, it should be relatively easy for your child to go to bed and fall asleep that same time every night.

Childhood insomnia occurs when children don’t go to bed on time unless a parent or guardian enforce bedtime. If they’re not given a strict bedtime, they will linger, wander the house or ask for 15 glasses of water to keep from falling asleep.

Unlike adult insomnia where the mind will race even after going to bed, children with childhood insomnia usually have no problem falling asleep. They may fight it and try to stay awake as long as possible, but when given no other option, they fall asleep rather quickly.

Childhood insomnia usually doesn’t require the aid of a sleep specialist but if you have concerns make sure you’re keeping a detailed record of your child’s sleeping habits. Record when they go to bed, when they get up in the morning, and if they wake up in the middle of the night. This record will help your specialist identify childhood insomnia or any other sleep disorder.

Ultimately childhood insomnia can be overcome by establishing a strict bedtime schedule. For the best results:

  • Maintain a daily schedule and consistent bedtime routine
  • Don’t allow for “bargaining” for water or more bedtime stories after bedtime has been reached
  • Make it a goal for your child to go to bed and stay there until morning
  • Ensure your child sleeps in the same bedroom every night
  • Provide a comfortable sleeping environment that is cool, quiet, dark, and without a TV or other electronics.


If your child is following good sleeping habits, but still wakes up irritable and has difficulty focusing in school, they could have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. Symptoms of sleep apnea in children often cause behavioral problems similar to those associated with ADHD and are often misdiagnosed as such. To learn more about sleep apnea in children, give us a call at 662-823-7900 for more information.

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