Getting the right amount of sleep can be a problem for children of any age. It can even be a problem for adults. Young children may have difficulty settling and teenagers may experience insomnia.
When it comes to baby's sleep, it can take about six weeks for sleep rhythms to develop. It takes even longer, up to six months, to develop regular sleep wake cycle.
Why does it take so long?
Melatonin is the hormone required to regulate sleep and it takes about three months for this to get into full production in the body. Breastfed babies can get melatonin through breast milk. It is produced at different levels throughout the day so feeding baby at certain times will help them sleep better.
It can become very difficult to cope as a parent as it will also affect your sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation issues for yourself. It is important that this too is addressed as this can lead to many other health issues such as depression and weight management issues.
As children grow and sleep issues continue there can be a number of contributing problems. Such as:
- behavioural insomnia
- rhythmic movements
- sleep terrors
- sleep walking
- bedtime resistance
The recommended hours of sleep for children is as follows:
0-3 months - 12-18 hours including naps
4-12 months - 11-14 hours including naps
1-6 years - 10-12 hours
7-13 years - 9-11 hours
14-18 years - 8-10 hours
When children and teenagers aren't getting enough sleep it can show in physical signs such as:
- difficulty in getting moving in the morning
- being sleepy throughout the day
- struggling to pay attention which can really affect schooling
- difficulty with memory and learning
- increased irritability
- increased moodiness
- temper tantrums
- struggles getting kids to bed
It is important to address sleep issues as early as possible because if they are left to continue then habits are formed.
There are many concerns and reservations regarding the administration of pharmaceutical medications for children's sleep disorders. This is where herbal medicines and nutritional medicine come in. Herbal remedies are ideal due to there gentle nature and non-addictive properties.
As a Children's Health Specialist, I have extensive experience in understanding the thought processes and behavioural patterns of children and teenagers. It can often be difficult to interpret childhood and teenage behaviour as well as their emotions. With over 20 years of experience with both children and teenagers this is where I can help.
Combining my teaching degree with my Naturopath degree has helped me to provide the best possible care for children and teenagers as a Children's Health Specialist.
Who am I?
I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers. As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.
Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
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