Understanding Sleep Problems in Young Children

Is your child struggling to sleep? Discover natural remedies and techniques to help them get the rest they need. Improve their sleep and your own!

Sleep is a Skill and a Learned Behavior

Modern human beings do not rely on instinct alone for most aspects of daily life and sleep is no exception. People who sleep well have strong sleep skills that were learned and practiced a lot. People who usually get restful and restorative sleep practice their sleep skills regularly (even if they don’t know they do). In addition, good sleepers have a circadian rhythm that coordinates with their sleep skills to produce drowsiness and wakefulness just when they’re needed.

Sleep is also a Developmentally-Rooted Process

Newborn babies usually sleep for 21-23 hrs per day, and newborn sleep is always initiated because of naturally increasing drowsiness that begins to build steadily from the moment they wake up from their previous nap. But this changes: within the next month or two a baby will also begin to fall asleep in response to cues provided by their emerging circadian rhythm as well as their drowsiness. By the time babies are 4 to 6 months old, their circadian rhythm can be powerful and will usually guarantee sleep at nap and bedtimes if their daily routine is consistent.

Sleep Habits can Develop in both Helpful and Harmful Ways

Babies and young children exhibit a wide range of sleep and night-waking behaviors. Many do indeed sleep uninterrupted for 8-12 hours; however, others will continue to wake frequently. But sleep research tells us that at 6 months of age more than 95 % of nighttime sleep interruptions or waking episodes occur because of a waking habit and not because of hunger, loneliness or other immediate cause. A baby’s capacity at age 4-6 months, to hold any habit or rhythm, (good or bad,) is becoming more and more possible because of ongoing neurologic development that allows for this. Practically speaking it means that if your child woke several times last night, for any reason whatsoever, their circadian rhythm will prompt them to wake at similar times tonight. Clearly, these habitual retained behaviors of frequent night-waking were beneficial to newborns for feeding and soothing, but are no longer helpful, beginning at 4 to 6 months of age.

Many practical, safe and natural therapies exist to help correct sleep problems in children. If your child is having difficulty sleeping through the night, come in and see Dr. Brousseau.

READ MORE ABOUT: Pediatric Conditions

about the author

Pasadena Natural Health Center is dedicated to providing holistic healthcare solutions in Pasadena, California. With a focus on natural treatments and personalized care, they offer a wide range of services, from treating various health conditions to promoting overall well-being. Their experienced team of healthcare professionals is committed to helping patients achieve optimal health through natural and holistic approaches.
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