How To Help A Child With Insomnia

How To Help A Child With Insomnia

A study conducted at the University of Houston says children who lack sleep or experience disrupted sleep tend towards depression and anxiety later in life.1 All the more reason to help a child with insomnia. So they become strong, healthy and productive adults.

But how to help a child with insomnia? It’s difficult to induce good sleeping habits in children. Avoid insomnia medicines if you can. Instead make lifestyle changes and healthy food habits a part of your daily routine. This will help a child with insomnia get good quality sleep on a regular basis.

How A Daily Routine Helps Induce Good Sleep

In Ayurveda, lack of sleep or disrupted sleep is due to an imbalance in Vata dosha. A great way to keep Vata in balance is having a good routine which is consistent before bed time.

What’s A Good Routine For A Child With Insomnia?

  1. Have a fixed time for sleep. This helps the child to adjust her biological clock to a regular pattern.
  2. Have dinner at least 3 hours before bed. Give them a light dinner, with easily digestible food. A cup of warm milk, with a pinch of ground cardamom or nutmeg before bed helps.
  3. Oil massage can help to induce good sleep followed by bathing in luke warm water. Ksheerabala Thaila, Brahmi, Balashwagandhadi are good for inducing sleep. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using these oils.
  4. Bedtime stories should be positive and non-violent. Children absorb everything. Avoid violent TV shows or crime news before bed. Limit screen time before bed. The bright screen hurts the eyes and the content might hurt the child’s mind.
  5. Make sure the bed spreads, pillows and covers are light in color. Shades of lavender are good for inducing sleep.
  6. Play soothing music and make the room dark.
  7. During summer the energy drain is greater, and daytime sleep is allowed for children and elders. Make sure you limit daytime naps to 45 minutes or 1 hour. This helps in creating good sleep at night.
  8. Ayurveda says an increase in Kapha Dosha increases sleep. So as a general rule for children with disturbed sleep, increase the intake of the sweet taste. This increases the Kapha in the body. Decrease spicy foods.

With all these tips, if the child is still having sleep issues, try shirodhara and abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) according to the advice of a qualified practitioner. Before depending on internal medicines try lifestyle changes and external therapies for proper sleep, especially in children.

REFERENCES
1 University of Houston. “Lack of sleep increases a child’s risk for emotional disorders later: NIH-funded study reveals long-term emotional effects of poor sleep.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2016.

Arya Krishna is an Ayurvedic Practitioner, educator, and speaker. She completed her Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Amrita School of Ayurveda, Kerala, India. She is registered as an Ayurveda doctor (Reg No: 14664) under the Indian Medical Council. She received a Fellowship in Orthopedic Rehabilitation from Apollo group of Institutions, Hyderabad. An editor with the International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, she previously served as the associate editor of the American Ayurvedic Journal of Health. Before moving to the US in 2015, she was Resident Medical Officer (Ayurveda) in AyurVAID hospital, Bangalore and has knowledge and experience in precision and evidence-based Ayurveda. She was an Ayurveda Domain expert with Health Connect 24 – a unique platform to bring together Ayurveda, Yoga and swadeshi. She is efficient in performing all Panchakarma procedures (purification therapies) and has knowledge of Marma Therapy. Other areas of expertise include Ayurveda diet and lifestyle, women’s health, and rasayana (rejuvenation). She works for the promotion and propagation of Ayurveda by offering lectures, webinars and contributing to various journals. She is a resource person for the Council of Ayurveda Research (CAR) and is an Ayurvedic blogger with Mother Earth Living. Currently, she is residing in Danville, Pennsylvania and is listed as a BAMS doctor with AAPNA (Association of Ayurveda Practitioners of North America). She is an Ayurveda Consultant and Educational coordinator with Be Mind Body Skin, New Jersey and Subject Matter Expert at At Home with Ayurveda, UK.

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