What’s Keeping Kids Awake At Night?

by | Nov 5, 2021 | General Health Information

What’s Keeping Kids Awake At Night?

by | Nov 5, 2021 | General Health Information

This article below by Biopractica has great recommendations on how we can help our kids sleep better! Children can often experience worry and anxiety but modifying their routines can help to improve their stress and sleep together and where needed the use of magnesium supplementation can assist. I also like lavender and chamomile tea for kids too for additional support.

You can get magnesium from the following foods:

  • pumpkin seeds, 30g (156mg)
  • chia seeds, 30 g (111mg)
  • almonds, 30g (80mg of magnesium)
  • spinach, boiled, ½ cup (78mg)
  • cashews, 30g (74mg)
  • peanuts, ¼ cup (63mg)
  • oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (6 mg)
  • bread, whole wheat, 2 slices (46mg)
  • avocado, cubed, 1 cup (44mg)
  • rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup (42mg)
  • milk, 1 cup (24mg)

Enjoy the read – Maria

What’s Keeping Kids Awake At Night? 

Sleep issues are common in childhood with many children experiencing difficulties in falling asleep, regular night-time awakenings, and/or waking up early without being able to fall back asleep. Common causes of sleep disturbances and anxiety in children include:

  • poor sleep hygiene (irregular routine, the bedroom is too hot/cold/noisy/bright)
  • food allergies
  • gastrointestinal reflux
  • colic in infants
  • excessive night-time fluid intake
  • fear, night terrors
  • parental separation anxiety
  • stress, worry or other generalised anxiety
  • prolonged naps or at inappropriate times

Interestingly there is also an increased risk of insomnia in first-born children and only children, as well as in children with neurodevelopmental and learning disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Children often experience worry, fear and problems sleeping as part of their natural development, without any cause for concern.
However, some children can develop chronic insomnia with more serious consequences.

Long-term sleep issues in kids are a problem

Children often experience worry, fear and problems sleeping as part of their natural development, without any cause for concern. However, some children can develop chronic insomnia with more serious consequences. Chronic sleep disturbances impact on the child’s cognitive and emotional development. It can also affect the whole family, increasing the levels of stress for everyone. Insomnia can cause distress and social educational-academic, and behavioural impairment. Insomnia is also associated with an increased risk of the child developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Chronic sleep disturbances impact on the child’s cognitive and emotional development, It can also affect the whole family, increasing the levels of stress for everyone.

Treatment of sleep issues and anxiety in children

The causes of nervousness restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia in children can be complex and multi-layered, but studies have shown good benefits from the implementation of sleep hygiene interventions and behavioural interventions such as relaxation techniques. Studies also show that the involvement of parents and siblings in these practices results in more positive outcomes.

Some proven strategies for improving sleep in children include:

  • Natural light exposure in the morning and reduce light exposure in the evening
  • Reducing sugar and caffeine intake from chocolate, tea, coffee, and soft drinks
  • Physical activity during the day- especially in the morning
  • Modifying their sleep environment- i.e. make it dark, quiet, and well-ventilated
  • Reducing screen time and turning off electronic devices for at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • Introducing a relaxing bedtime routine- e.g. relaxing activities, avoiding overstimulating play
  • Regular bedtime and wake up times
  • Reduce daytime sleep/naps
  • Teaching the child self-soothing skills for if they wake up in the night
  • Avoid feeding, holding or rocking the child to sleep anywhere else but their bed
  • Use a transitional object to help the child fall asleep
  • Offer positive reinforcement when the child reaches goals of not waking up at night
  • Do not encourage bargaining of bedtime hours
  • ‘Good sleep hygiene should start from the time the child wakes up, all the way to the end of the day.’

It has been shown that success is better if a gradual, rather than sudden approach, is used- with recommendations implemented gradually over a few weeks. Additionally, good sleep hygiene and healthful routines should start in the daytime, from the time the child wakes up, to what they have for breakfast, morning physical activity, daytime exposure to light, and all the way to the end of the day

Children with magnesium deficiency may experience nervousness, mood swings, a reduced attention span, fatigue, aggression, lack of concentration and irritation.

Magnesium is a good starting point for restless kids

In addition to these recommendations, your health practitioner can recommend gentle natural supplements to help improve sleep and anxiety, including the use of magnesium citrate.

Magnesium deficiency is common in children and dietary supplementation can help improve sleep, anxiety attention and hyperactivity, Magnesium is necessary for the production of serotonin, and children with magnesium deficiency may experience nervousness, mood swings, reduced attention span, fatigue, aggression, lack of concentration and irritation.

Magnesium citrate has consistently been proven to be the best absorbed form of supplemental magnesium and is easily administered to children in a powder form. Recommended daily intake from dietary sources for children is from 5-6 mg/kg/day, adjusted according to weight.

Recommended daily intake from dietary sources for children is from 5-6 mg/kg/day, adjusted according to weight.

References:
Smith, K. E., Hudson, J. L. (2013). Metacognitive Beliefs and Processes in Clinical Anxiety in Children, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(5), 590–602.

Roffe, C., Sills, S., Crome, P., Jones, P. (2002). Randomised, cross-over, placebo controlled trial of magnesium citrate in the treatment of chronic persistent leg cramps, Med Sci Monit, 8(5): CR326-330.

Sebo, P., Cerutti, D., Haller, D. M. (2013). Effect of magnesium therapy on nocturnal leg cramps: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials with meta-analysis using simulations, Family Practice, Vol. 31, No. 1, 7–19 doi:10.1093/fampra/cmt065.

Schwalfenberg, G. K., Genuis, S. J. (2017). The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare, Hindawi Scientifica, https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4179326.

Nunes, M. L., & Bruni, O. (2015). Insomnia in childhood and adolescence: Clinical aspects, diagnosis, and therapeutic approach. Jornal De Pediatria, 91(6 Suppl 1), S26-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2015.08.006

Herrmann, L., Vicheva, P., Kasties, V., Danyeli, L. V., Szycik, G. R., Denzel, D., Fan, Y., Meer, J. V. der, Vester, J. C., Eskoetter, H., Schultz, M., & Walter, M. (2020). FMRI Revealed Reduced Amygdala Activation after Nx4 in Mildly to Moderately Stressed Healthy Volunteers in a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 3802. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60392-w

El Baza, F., AlShahawi, H. A., Zahra, S., & AbdelHakim, R. A. (2016). Magnesium supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, 17(1), 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2015.05.008

Dimpfel, W. (2019). Effects of Neurexan on Stress-Induced Changes of Spectral EEG Power: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Exploratory Trial in Human Volunteers. World Journal of Neuroscience, 9(3), 100–112. https://doi.org/10.4236/wjns.2019.93007

Bruni, O., Angriman, M., Calisti, F., Comandini, A., Esposito, G., Cortese, S., & Ferri, R. (2018). Practitioner Review: Treatment of chronic insomnia in children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(5), 489–508. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12812

Bloch, M. H., & Mulqueen, J. (2014). Nutritional supplements for the treatment of ADHD. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23(4), 883–897. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2014.05.002

Black, L. J., Allen, K. L., Jacoby, P., Trapp, G. S., Gallagher, C. M., Byrne, S. M., & Oddy, W. H. (2015). Low dietary intake of magnesium is associated with increased externalising behaviours in adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 18(10), 1824–1830. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014002432

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