How to Treat Insomnia in Children

Learn how to treat insomnia in children from sleep specialist Priyanka Yadav, D.O. in this Howcast video.

Insomnia in children can be a little trick to treat. Medications are
generally contra-indicated in children, so you need to maximize their sleep
hygiene to help them sleep better at night. This includes keeping a strict
sleep schedule adequate amount of sleep. Children generally need more
sleep than adults at night. The reason why you don’t wanna use medication
in the pediatric population is because there’s not much research out there
with the use of medication in this population.

Also, the reasons for their insomnia is quite different from adult. They
don’t have anxiety or depression as a common cause for their insomnia
whereas that may be a common cause of insomnia in the adult population.
Besides keeping a strict sleep schedule, you want to take out devices that
may be delaying their sleep onset, which include the use of computer, TV or
the phone.

These are all stimulating factors and the light from these devices will
also hamper melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a hormone that helps us with
sleep onset and light is a deactivating factor for melatonin. Now, there
are certain sleep disorders that must be ruled out in the pediatric
population that might be contributing to insomnia. This includes sleep
apnea, which may cause fragmentation of their sleep if they’re not
breathing well at night.

Periodic movement and restless legs, which will be generally a complaint of
growing pains in their legs and they may be kicking their legs at night
because of periodic movements. This may be fragmenting their sleep at
night. It’s important to have a thorough evaluation of your children’s
sleep history in order to determine if there is, in fact, any medical
disorder that might be contributing to insomnia.