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Warning: Your Child May Be Acting Out Because They're Actually Sleep Deprived

>> Jun 25, 2018

If your child is neither as well-behaved nor doing as well at school as before, it's not going to help if you double-down on them to improve their attitude--because your child may be doing the best they can but feel stuck.

In some cases, the issue may be something that neither you nor your child suspects: they may not be getting enough good quality sleep at nights. If your child doesn't get a good night's sleep every night, then this is going to affect their current behavior, academic performance, and future development.  

Often the remedy to improving sleep quality may be something as simple as replacing an uncomfortable mattress—one that's too hard, too soft, or too lumpy. If you think that this might be the case, then visit a bedding store located nearby. There, professional staff will help your child choose the perfect mattress for their sleeping preference so that they can get the comfort they need to sleep well at night.  

Some other reasons why your child may not be getting enough sleep include electronic overstimulation, a poor diet, or high anxiety.
Bright Screens

Almost all kids love entertainment. One common reason why children don't sleep well is that they are not going to bed at a regular time and are staying up doing something stimulating, like watching TV, playing online video games, or texting their friends.  

If this is what's going on, it's just a question of breaking these habits. Usually, turn off all devices with bright screens an hour before bed. The reason bright electronic screens induce insomnia is that they adversely inhibit the sleep hormone, melatonin. Essentially, the brain is tricked into believing that it's still daytime.  

Poor Dietary Choices

At other times, though, the cause may be subtler. They may be going to bed at a reasonable hour but not sleep well at night. This over-alertness may be due to foods rich in chocolate or beverages high in caffeine. These can keep the mind alert and the body energized, making it particularly difficult to drop off to sleep. Other foods that prevent sleepiness are ice cream, pizza, pasta, cereals, and candy bars.

Replace stimulating foods, with foods that promote a good night's sleep. These include bananas, almonds, oats, honey, turkey, and cheese. Usually, the most soporific foods for sleep are rich in magnesium.

High Anxiety

Many adults with young children are surprised to learn that children, too, experience anxiety. While they may not have to worry about how to cope with an awful boss, feeling underpaid and underappreciated at work, or how to earn enough money to pay the bills, children worry about all sorts of things—guilt over not doing their homework, struggle with school, poor performance at sports, conflicts with other children, dread of the teacher, and so on.  

Psychologists classify this type of anxiety as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Like adults, children have many recurring fears and worry a great deal about many things in their environment that they can't control. 

If your child is anxious, they spend most of the day concerned about things that may seem trivial to you, often spending most of the days of the week fretting, and even worrying about things for weeks on end. Typical symptoms of anxiety are irritability, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of fatigue or restlessness during the course of the day, and trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night.

Fortunately, as a parent, there are a number of ways that you can help your child if they have anxiety:
1.   Ask your child directly about what's on their mind. Once they begin opening up, listen carefully, pay attention to their feelings, and avoid trying to fix the issue by telling them what they should do. Often, just the act of listening is enough for the child to feel understood and empowered enough to do something about what's bothering them. Of course, if you are in a position to help them, then you should, but often their problems are relational conflicts with their peers or the teacher issues where parental intervention would actually embarrass them.
2.   Sometimes you may be the cause of their anxiety. They feel that you are quick to punish them when they don't show the progress you expect from them. If this occurs, find ways to recognize and to praise them for what they have accomplished that you never acknowledged.  

In closing, sleep is essential for health and well-being, and if your child has difficulty dropping off to sleep or sleeping well, then you should work to resolve the issue or arrange for some child counseling if necessary.  

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a home maker, a stay at home wife. I'm just an ordinary woman who has interest in reading, working at home and learning to write. We live in Bogor, Indonesia.
This blog contains articles in family topic.
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