Good night and good luck!!
There are small or large periods in children’s lifetime when sleep is an issue.
The most difficult period is of course the infant period, with the majority of new parents - especially breastfeeding mothers - regaining their lost sleep after 10-12 months, as then the child begins to fall asleep "on time" and sleep continuously for at least seven hours.
This does not mean that there is a rule for every age. Depending on the developmental stage of the child, but also due to certain environmental factors, sleep problems vary: they can range from night and intermittent sleep to, less commonly, sleepwalking and night terrors.
The pediatrician advises the parents on the duration of sleep, depending on the age of the child. Indicatively, according to the updated guidelines of the American Sleep Foundation, children 3-5 years old should complete 10-13 hours of sleep in order to ensure the proper functioning of their body. As the child gets older, their sleeping time decreases. It seems, however, that the threshold concerns the "classic" eight hours. Even if they lose only one hour of the sleep they need, children will show greater inability to concentrate during the day.
What can disturb their sleep?
Besides viruses, especially those involving the upper or lower respiratory tract, children may wake up "normally" because they are hungry or thirsty.
However, a percentage of children have sleep disorders that, depending on their form and intensity, are treated either with tried "tricks" or with the help of specialists.
The nap: From an age onwards - usually after the age of three - the nap makes it difficult for the child to fall asleep early at night.
Stress: If the child suddenly loses sleep or starts waking up
too early, look for the causes in his daily life.
Common causes are parental divorce, change of school, bullying or inability to adjust to the daily schedule after the holidays.
Sleep very early: If you have "trained" your child to sleep at 7 at night, while its body does not need more than 10 hours to rest, it is normal for them to wake up early. The solution is to gradually transfer to later bedtime.
Nightmares: We have all been tormented by nightmares at some
point in our childhood - especially - but 20% of young children have nightmares
more than once a week. What causes this difficult situation?
From the innocent but profoundly scary fairy tales ("Little Red Riding Hood" is an example) to the strict observation of the "evil" teacher in kindergarten or the quarrel of parents can awaken nightmares, which are innocent, until proven otherwise. In case the nightmares systematically disturb the child's sleep, a discussion with the pediatrician is necessary.
The extreme case: night terror
It is a – literally – scary episode: The child screams in fear with open eyes and dilated pupils, and seems to have no contact with its environment. This condition, which can last up to 20 minutes, is accompanied by symptoms of a panic attack: palpitations, shortness of breath and profuse sweating. When this occurs for the first time, parents think that their child has had a scary dream and try to "wake them up". But night terrors are a condition that has nothing to do with nightmares. Heredity, fatigue and stress are possible causes, although science has not yet given definitive answers to what provokes them.
The pediatrician and possibly the pediatric neurologist are the specialists to be consulted by the parent whose child suffers from such a condition.
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