Quality sleep is important for everyone, specifically for kids. Adequate sleep plays a critical role in a child’s development and helps prevent difficult behaviors, crankiness, lack of focus, depression, high blood pressure, and other health conditions. However, despite the critical role that sleep plays in kids’ lives, research suggests that 15 to 25 percent of kids and teens struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Of course, when you’re a parent, it’s normal to become concerned about your child’s inability to go to bed. In some situations, it’s even possible to feel helpless. After all, you can’t just give a kid sleeping pills.
Pharmaceutical sleep aids pose severe risks to children. And while you can avoid them by using vitamins and supplements, the FDA doesn’t monitor these products closely.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of options. There are natural sleep remedies for kids. However, before diving in, let’s discuss why kids have trouble sleeping in the first place.
Why do kids have trouble sleeping?
There are many reasons why kids can’t fall and stay asleep. The root causes vary from bad dreams to health conditions, but it’s important to know each one. That way, you understand what you’re up against and how to tackle it. That said, here are the primary reasons children can’t sleep.
1. No bedtime routine
Structure is crucial for kids, and that’s especially true when it comes to your kid’s sleep routine. Doing the same things every night before bed helps kids know that it’s time to go to sleep. But when that routine doesn’t exist, kids don’t know when it’s to unwind and prepare for bed.
2. Stalling before bed
Sometimes, kids know when it’s time to go to sleep. However, they try to stall to prevent themselves from going to bed. Usually, this looks like asking for a drink of water, extra bedtime stories, or a trip to the bathroom.
3. Bad dreams
Bad dreams are normal for everyone, including kids. Oftentimes, the bad dreams are harmless, and you have to soothe your child back to sleep or turn on a nightlight to help them relax. But even with those two solutions, it can be hard for kids to fall asleep again.
4. Separation anxiety
Most kids go through a phase where they don’t want to separate from their parents. During this phase, kids get anxious, knowing they have to sleep in their own room. And the same way anxiety prevents adults from falling and staying asleep is the same way that it affects children.
5. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While it’s rare, some kids struggle to sleep because of obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when enlarged tonsils and nasal tissues block airways.
This condition affects 1 in 100 kids, and you’ll typically see it in children who range from 3 to 7 years old. If kids have obstructive sleep apnea, it can lead to restless sleep, labored breathing, and loud snoring.
6. Asthma, allergies, and other health concerns
Similar to adults, when kids are feeling unwell, sleep can quickly become a challenge. Whether it’s allergies, asthma, or a cold, the inability to breathe properly because of a stuffy nose can prevent children from getting the sleep they need.
7. Sleep cycle changes
When kids become teenagers, they encounter changes in their sleep cycle. Suddenly, they become sleepier in the morning and more alert in the evening. And this natural change in the body makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Stress doesn’t just affect adults’ sleep. It also affects kids. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, kids from ages 8 to 17 worry about their family’s finances, doing well in school, and getting into good colleges. The same study also reports that kids suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, and upset stomachs because of stress.
9. Digital screens
Digital screens are everywhere. They’re unavoidable. However, one place that kids can and should escape from digital devices is in bed. TV, video games, tablets, and mobile phones are easy distractions that can prevent kids from falling asleep. And they have a harmful blue light that hinders deep sleep.
10. A poor sleeping environment
The room a child sleeps in has a significant impact on their sleep. If there’s too much lighting or loud noises in or around a kid’s bedroom, they will have a harder time going to bed.
The best natural sleep remedies for kids
If your child is experiencing sleep problems because of a health condition, it’s important to see a doctor. They can offer better guidance on how to handle the situation.
However, if a health condition is not contributing to your kid’s sleep issues, then natural remedies are a great option to help your child fall asleep. These natural sleep remedies for kids are easy to implement and provide quick results. All you have to do is use the strategies on a regular basis.
Keeping that in mind, here are five natural sleep remedies for kids that you can start using.
1. Create a bedtime routine
If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that humans are creatures of habit. If you create a bedtime routine that you implement daily, your kid’s mind and body will know that it’s time to unwind and prepare for bed.
The routine that you implement should be tailored to your child, but it’s a good idea for it to last around 20 minutes. Additionally, you may want to add in three to four relaxing activities like taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or listening to relaxing music. Also, you should have a set bedtime to ensure your child gets to sleep at a reasonable hour.
2. Use CBD to deepen relaxation
One of the best natural sleep remedies for kids is cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that naturally occurs in the hemp plant. It’s federally legal in the United States, and it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t have any intoxicating effects.
Additionally, one of CBD’s biggest benefits is its ability to reduce anxiety and stress. This therapeutic effect can come in handy if your child is overthinking or too worried about something to fall asleep. Even better, CBD chocolates are a fun, tasty, and easy way for kids to take CBD.
Just make sure you buy a product that’s organic and third-party lab tested. Kat’s Naturals Hemp Dark Chocolate CBD and Hemp White Chocolate CBD fits all of these criteria, so you can rest assured that they’re quality products.
3. Have a screen curfew
A screen curfew is another excellent solution. It’s one of the natural sleep remedies for kids that you can implement immediately. And while it may be a tough rule for your child to follow initially, the benefits are worth it.
Digital screens emit a blue light that suppresses melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Additionally, screens are great at stimulating the brain, which is awesome during the day but unhelpful at night when it’s time to wind down and go to bed.
4. Incorporate regular exercise
Incorporating physical activity into the day is a proven strategy that helps kids fall asleep and stay asleep. Most kids need about one hour of physical activity per day, so set a timer and do something with your kids that requires a bit of exercise. But try not to do anything vigorous right before bed because it may increase your kid’s energy and make it hard to fall asleep.
5. Keep pets out of the bedroom
When it comes to natural sleep remedies for kids, this one is probably the simplest to implement. Keeping pets out of your child’s room when it’s time for bed will help your kid experience deeper sleep.
While it’s cute to see children and pets snuggling, the movement and noises that pets make can be a disruption. So for kids to get peaceful sleep all throughout the night, they shouldn’t have their pets on the bed. Instead, they should say goodnight to their pet during their bedtime routine.
Help your child get better sleep
If your child is struggling to fall and stay asleep, try natural sleep remedies for kids. They’re simple solutions that provide quick results, and they’re great for long-term use.