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Annette Faamausili, July 21 2021

Is Your Child Not Sleeping? Here’s Six Possible Reasons Why

Is your child getting enough sleep?

Science (and common sense) tells us that kids need more sleep than adults. That’s no surprise considering they seem to burn so much energy during the day – and that’s on top of all the growing and learning that’s going on!

However, as wonderful as sleep is, it doesn’t always come easily, even for children.

Many little ones don’t get enough sleep during the night, leaving them cranky, unfocused, and over-emotional during the day.

There are many reasons why your child may be having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep – from an inappropriate sleep environment to late-night hunger pangs!

Read on to find out six of the most common.

1. The Sleep Environment Is Not Conducive To Sleep

While it’s true that some people could probably get a solid eight hours of sleep anywhere at any time, not all of us are wired that way. One of the first things to consider if your child doesn’t sleep well is the sleep environment.

The four top factors are:

Children sleep better in a dark room, so keep the lights off and get blackout blinds if you think it may help. For kids who are scared of the dark, a nightlight or glow in the dark stickers can soothe without interfering with sleep.

Cooler temperatures are more conducive to sleep, so keep the bedroom temperature between 18 – 21, if possible.

Is your child not sleeping because of a noisy household or neighbourhood? Invest in a white noise machine to mask outside sounds.

Finally, make sure there aren’t too many distractions (such as toys or mobiles).

2. Your Child Is Under Tired

Is the daytime sleep routine negatively impacting the nighttime hours? It can be hard to find the right balance of naps during the day to ensure your child is just the right amount of tired by bedtime, but this is a critical factor.

Younger children typically require at least four hours between sleep periods before they are ready to sleep again. If your child still takes an afternoon nap, make sure it is done earlier in the afternoon if possible – or consider phasing it out completely.

3. Your Child Is Over Tired

When we get too tired, our cortisol levels rise, making it harder for us to sleep when the time comes! This happens to kids, too.

Babies from 0-12 months need between 12 and 19 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Toddlers from 1-5 years need 10-14 hours, and kids between the ages of 5 and 10 need around 10 hours of sleep at night.

If they are not getting enough day sleep, this could be adding up, making them cranky, hyperactive and emotional at nighttime. Tweaking your day time sleep schedule can make all the difference at bedtime.

4. The Bedtime Routine Is Inconsistent

A consistent routine is a vital part of good sleep hygiene. Create a pre-bedtime routine that remains the same every night, focusing on activities that help your child wind down and relax.

Your bedtime routine might involve having a bath, eating a snack, brushing teeth, and a bedtime story from you.  Make sure the routine is the same time every night, and keep it simple and short.

5. Too Much Screen Time

The blue light emitted by televisions, tablets, laptops, and phones can throw off the body’s sleep/wake cycle, making it harder for kids (and adults) to fall asleep.

To prevent blue light from impacting on your little one’s sleep, turn off all devices at least two hours before bedtime, opting for more soothing activities like reading a book.

6. Hunger or Thirst

Every parent is all too familiar with children’s sleep procrastination techniques! How many times have you heard “I’m thirsty” or “I’m hungry” half an hour after you’ve tucked them into bed?

While this may just be a delaying tactic, it may also be a genuine complaint. That’s why a pre-bedtime snack is helpful. Heavy meals too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect (as can over-sugary snacks), but a cup of warm milk and a banana or piece of toast before bed can be a great idea.

Good sleep can feel like a mystical thing when you are parenting a young family. But, it doesn’t have to be! If you have addressed all of the above things and you still have the problem that your child is not sleeping, then reach out to me today. I have a range of sleep packages to suit all situations and budgets.


Written by

Annette Faamausili

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