Why Can’t My Kid Sleep? Reasons and Causes

Sleep may come naturally, but sleep hygiene does not. As children, we ideally learn how to maintain a sleep schedule and self-soothe when we’re woken abruptly or struggling to sleep, but it doesn’t come easily to everyone. For some kids, learning to sleep on a regular schedule takes work. What if your kid can’t sleep? What are the reasons and causes.

Why Can’t My Kid Sleep? Reasons and Causes

In order to help you teach your children this important life skill, let’s have a look at what may be causing them to struggle with sleep and what you can do to help them through it.

It’s a Developmental Stage

Children go through a litany of developmental stages that can affect the way they sleep. Newborn babies sleep a lot, but they typically sleep in shorter bursts than an adult. As a result, babies under the age of nine months old are likely to wake their parents up throughout the night. Even then they may only sleep five or six hours at a time.

On the opposite end of the childhood spectrum, you may also notice changes in your teen’s sleeping habits after they reach puberty. They’re still going to need about nine hours of sleep every night, but they may start staying up a bit later and sleeping in a bit later. It’s a normal change that most teens experience, and you can help them through it by allowing schedule adjustments wherever possible.

They Rely Too Much on You

Your child will always need you to some extent, but it is your job to slowly teach them how to care for themselves. Teaching them how to self-soothe during the night is an important lesson that will help your child normally sleep as they grow up. Of course, no one is saying you should ignore your child at night. Rather you can and should check on them when they call out, but keep interactions short and sweet.

By limiting the reward (physical touch and affection) they receive for waking you in the middle of the night, your child is more likely to learn how to fall back to sleep on their own. To help them with this, you may encourage them to sleep with a favorite blanket or stuffed animal.

They Don’t Have a Set Schedule

Everyone sleeps better if they maintain a set schedule. For young children that means having regular naps and going to bed at the same time every day. Without their naps, they may become overtired, which can actually cause hyperactivity and make going to sleep at night next to impossible.
To fix the issue, stick to your schedule and have a pre-bed routine that helps their body prepare for sleep. Limit screen time starting an hour before bed, go through your evening dental hygiene routine, and read a story to settle them in. When you leave make sure there’s no light beside a small night light and keep your home quiet for them.

They Have a Health Condition

Unfortunately, some children have a hard time sleeping as the result of a health conditions. Obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, severe allergies, and asthma can all make it difficult for your child to sleep soundly. If you suspect this may be the case, then you need to contact your NYC sleep doctor to discuss pediatric sleep solutions.

Dr. Mayank Shukla is an experienced pediatric sleep doctor with a specialty in pulmonology. By meeting with you and examining your child, your pediatric sleep doctor can help you to identify the cause of your child’s inability to sleep naturally. Once your child’s condition is diagnosed, your sleep doctor will work with you and your child to find the best sleep solutions for your family.

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