Why do babies sleep so much
How much sleep do children need?
Three typical sleep problems
1. The child wakes up at night
Different sleep difficulties occur depending on the age. "Problems sleeping through the night are most common in children up to four years of age," says Schlarb. If children don't get enough sleep, they are often unbalanced, have tantrums or whine a lot. "It can express itself like this up to the age of ten."
Problems staying asleep can have various causes. Parents should therefore take a closer look: is the child rather anxious and tense? "Then it probably doesn't have enough self-reassurance," says Schlarb. Affected children still need the help of their parents when they fall asleep: For example, they sit next to the bed, hold the little one's hand or even lie down next to him. "But the child doesn't learn to fall asleep in this way," says Schlarb. "They usually need this support when they wake up briefly at night." Parents should try to gradually get the child used to falling asleep on their own. "If they fail to do that, they can learn techniques in training programs to help the child calm down," recommends Schlarb.
2. The child tests limits
If the child is not afraid, it may be that they want to test their limits by falling asleep. "In the evening, they suddenly want to drink something, eat something or get up again in bed, although they should actually be full and satisfied," says Schlarb. "This is called difficulty sleeping in the context of parental boundary setting." In this case, the parents can show their offspring in a friendly but firm manner when it is time to eat and when to go to bed. Children should also exercise enough during the day and, in the evening, be prepared for bedtime with the help of a quiet bedtime ritual.
3. The child broods in the evening
These diversionary maneuvers can still occur in elementary school age. However, children have more and more problems falling asleep for other reasons. "As soon as children are worried about things, they often fall asleep more difficult," says Schlarb. "For example, if you had an argument with your friend and she still bothered about it in the evening." Even if they are afraid of something - for example, if dad is going away in the morning or the first day of school is approaching - it could have an effect on falling asleep. Parents should therefore offer the child opportunities to talk during the day. "For many people, the question, what happened today?’ Only comes up in bed in the evening, "says Schlarb. "But it is not good if the worry is coupled with going to bed."
Persistent lack of sleep can be risky
If a child sleeps too little over the long term, this is a risk factor for illness. For example, infections occur more often because the immune system is weakened. "In extreme cases, lack of sleep affects development: it can be delayed both emotionally and physically or psychologically," says Schlarb. "Such children, for example, sometimes don't grow and thrive so well." But significantly too much sleep is also associated with a higher risk of physical and mental illness. "Such hypersomnias are rare," says Schlarb. Bad sleep is not only associated with a higher risk of illness, it can also be a sign of illness. If the child sleeps significantly less - or more - than recommended, parents should take them to the doctor.
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