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Tips to Help Kids Dealing with Nightmares

dealing with nightmaresSleep troubles plague all age groups, but we tend to have the biggest issues with our kids. Whether they’re having trouble falling asleep or the fear of having a nightmare is keeping them awake, there are plenty of ways to help soothe this burden.  Check out these tips to help with your child’s sleep issues:

Consistent Bedtime Routine

Promoting a consistent bedtime routine for your child will help ease them to sleep gradually as they go through various steps. Doing specific activities before bed, like reading a book, brushing their teeth, and/or taking a bath, will get them into a habit of getting ready to go to sleep. The ability to know what’s coming next is comforting and relaxing, setting the perfect bedtime atmosphere. Soon enough, your child’s body may automatically start to become tired at the beginning of their routine.

Eliminating Distractions

Research has shown that the light from a television screen (or computer) can interfere with the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is an important piece of sleep-wake cycles. When melatonin levels are at their highest, your child will be ready for bed. This will also allow them to achieve a deeper, more peaceful sleep, which will hopefully help with their fear of nightmares.

Reduce Stress

There’s another important hormone that plays a role in sleep, which is called cortisol. High cortisol levels could cause your child’s body to become too stressed to fall asleep. Keeping bedtime activities and routines relaxing, with the lights dim and the environment quiet, can help avoid excess amounts of cortisol in your child’s body.

Comfortable Environment

While the amount of light, television, and computer distractions are huge factors in your child’s ability to sleep, the room temperature must also be considered. Melatonin levels help to regulate the drop of internal body temperature needed to sleep, but you can help regulate the external temperature. You shouldn’t bundle your child up too tightly or set the heat too high; regular room temperature or a little cooler is better to promote deep, comfortable sleep.

Fear Protection

Instead of dismissing bedtime fears, like the dreaded nightmare, you should address them with your child. Try sharing your own experiences of dealing with nightmares or other sleep problems you’ve had to show them it’s not impossible to get over it. If simple reassurance doesn’t work, you can try buying a special toy, similar to a teddy bear, to stand guard at night or help keep them company in bed.

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