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?
Have a fixed time for sleep. This helps the child to adjust her biological clock to a regular pattern.
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.
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.
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.
Make sure the bed spreads, pillows and covers are light in color. Shades of lavender are good for inducing sleep.
Play soothing music and make the room dark.
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.
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.