A child under one year old does not sleep well at night

Insomnia in a child is a serious problem not only for himself, but also for his parents. A sound and healthy night’s sleep is very important for your baby. At night, during sleep, many important processes take place in his body. In particular, growth. And if the child does not sleep well, then this cannot but worry the loving father and mother.

How can I help my child fall asleep? Is it possible to interfere with his sleep mode or is it better to let the situation take its course? The head of the children’s clinic of the Maternity hospital №4 at the GKB named after V.V. Vinogradova Vladislav Anatolyevich Zyablitsky.

Vladislav A. Zyablitsky
Head of the Children’s Clinic of the Maternity Hospital No. 4 at the GKB im. V.V. Vinogradova Vladislav Anatolievich Zyablitsky

The content of the article:

Insomnia in a child – why does a child sleep badly

Insomnia in children can be of a different nature, for example, disturbed sleep, frequent awakenings, states when the baby falls asleep for a long time or does not sleep all night, and sleep overpowers only in the morning. Why does the child sleep poorly?

The main causes of insomnia are physiological or psychological disorders.

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Physiological factors

  1. Hunger. Mother’s milk is not enough to feed the baby. The problem can be solved with the help of supplementary feeding with a mixture or stimulation of lactation. But you should avoid such an extreme as overfeeding. Overeating also makes the child often wake up with a feeling of fullness in the stomach. If the child does not sleep well, wakes up, then he probably needs to be given food.
  2. Teething… Itching of gums interferes with sleep. Swelling of the nasopharynx when the upper teeth erupt. This problem is solved by using anesthetic ointments or solution, massage the gums. For this reason, the child often wakes up at night.
  3. Poor microclimate in the children’s bedroom… In the room where the baby is resting, the optimal air temperature is 20-22 degrees, sufficient humidity, the absence of bright rays of light or illumination. This can be determined by external signs. If he is hot, the skin turns red, beads of sweat are visible. Cool hands, feet and nose mean that the baby is cold. The solution to the problem is to ventilate the room before bed. If there is insufficient moisture, use special devices or hang up a wet towel.
  4. The discomfort. Often, uncomfortable or wet underwear disrupts children’s sleep. It is important that the “nightwear” is made of natural soft fabrics, does not have rough seams and is appropriate for the child’s size. Often a child does not sleep well a month due to an overflowing diaper. Daily hygiene routines are important, but shouldn’t be done right before bed. This can overwhelm him and prevent him from falling asleep.
  5. Colic and tummy pain… The formation of the digestive system can be accompanied by such a phenomenon as colic. They bother the baby up to 4-5 months. Colic is manifested by strong crying of the child, pulling the legs to the stomach. Most often this is due to the accumulation of gas in the intestines due to swallowing air during feeding. To regurgitate swallowed air, hold the baby up after eating. In addition, if the baby is breastfeeding, the mother’s dietary mistakes can be the cause of the abdominal pain. It should be excluded from her diet: cabbage, legumes, grapes and other similar products. With artificial feeding, pain may be due to the improper composition of the formula. Then you should consult with your doctor and replace the mixture. It is possible to alleviate the condition of the child with colic by lightly stroking the tummy, using antireflux, anti-colic bottles, correct attachment to the breast, as well as medications based on the Semiticone.
  6. Bathing bugs… Bathing before bed can have a negative effect on falling asleep. This procedure should be carried out at least 3 hours before going to bed. The water in the tub should not be hot. Optimum is 37 degrees. It is also not worth delaying washing, 15-20 minutes is quite enough to refresh the body and amuse the baby.
  7. Unidentified biorhythms… Often children under one year old confuse day and night. Usually, a child can deal with this on his own by six months. Parents’ help should consist in the fact that at night it is necessary to turn off the light everywhere and observe silence, while during the day, despite the fact that the child is sleeping, there should not be absolute silence.

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Psychological factors

The psychological factor will be a disorder of the nervous system. If a child shudders for no reason or cries out in a dream, it is necessary to consult a neurologist. Only this specialist will accurately diagnose the cause of the sleep disorder and correct it. The child may have sleep disturbance associated with intrauterine development, fetal infections, maternal stress during pregnancy, difficult childbirth.

You should not resort to drug therapy without the indication and advice of a specialist!

How to help a child fall asleep – the doctor answers

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In addition to the methods previously discussed, you can help to normalize the process of falling asleep in the following universal ways:

  1. Compliance with the regime… Going to bed, bathing and feeding should be done at the same time.
  2. Active day… Entertain your baby as much as possible, walk in the fresh air, do gymnastics. A child should gain positive impressions in a day, get physically tired.
  3. Ritual of going to bed… It can be reading a fairy tale, stroking body parts. That is, actions that you can perform every night before your child goes to bed. Of course, it doesn’t have to be active play. We can also say that there are physiological REGRESSES OF SLEEP, which are caused by the psychomotor development of the child.

Read also: Secrets of raising mentally healthy and happy children from wise yoga teachers Sadhguru and Dada Sadananda

There are 4 main periods: 4 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years. Each regression is associated with the emergence of new skills and development.

  • 4 months… The child begins to analyze the environment, but due to a lack of life experience, he cannot always draw the right conclusions. Example: A 4-month-old breastfeeding guy may be intimidated by the upcoming separation from his mother, since he cannot predict when she will return.
  • 12 months… Here, the regression of sleep is due to the fact that children, on the threshold of one year of age, are actively mastering motor skills, learning to pronounce the first words and striving to continuously practice. All this requires intensive work of the brain, and it is difficult for the child’s psyche to cope with the abundance of information that it has to process. Fatigue increases, and the inhibitory mechanisms are not yet ready for stress – this causes problems with falling asleep. 18 months
  • 18 months – this is the time of the first serious age crisis. The child begins to realize himself as a separate person, for the first time begins to feel the boundaries of independence. This is expressed in resistance to established rules that apply to sleep patterns. Even at this age, fears appear that can wake up the baby in the middle of the night or prevent falling asleep.

At the age of 2, some children begin to attend kindergarten or developmental activities, new adults and peers appear in their lives. All this also provides an impetus for the development of the child, but at the same time is a source of stress that is not easy to cope with. This affects the child’s sleep. Further, sleep regressions will periodically repeat with overwork and change of schools and the emergence of new problems.

What causes sleep problems in newborns?

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Unstable sleep can cause the immune system to malfunction. Inadequate sleep strongly affects the baby’s nervous system, hence the vagaries and poor sleep even during the day. Someone will think: “Well, nothing, I’ll bear with it, later everything will work out, we’ll get some more sleep.” But do not let everything go by itself. It is important to know that no sleep disturbances appear for no reason. This is clear evidence of the wrong lifestyle and daily routine of the child, or of violations in the state of the baby’s health.

If the baby sleeps badly from birth, then the reason should be looked for in the state of health. If your child has always slept well, and sleep disturbances have arisen suddenly, then the reason, most likely, lies in the failure of the sleep and wakefulness regime, but in this case, the health version also needs to be considered.

If the reason for your baby’s poor sleep is in an improperly organized daily routine, then you need to try to establish it. It is worth making the best regimen for you and your baby and sticking to it strictly. Gradually, your child will get used to it, and the nights will become calmer. And the stable repetition of everyday procedures and actions will give the baby peace of mind and confidence.

Poor night sleep in a healthy baby

A child up to six months usually needs three naps a day, and after 6 months, babies most often already go twice. If at this age your child still has not switched to a two-time sleep, then try to gently help him in this, stretching the time of leisure and games so that the child does not oversleep much during the day.

In the afternoon, stick to quiet games so as not to overexcite the child’s still fragile nervous system. Otherwise, you can forget about good night, as well as about sound sleep.

If earlier you went to bed closer to 12 at night, then you will not be able to immediately put the baby to bed at 21-22.00. You will have to do the training slowly. Put your child to bed a little early each day and eventually get to the desired time.

Bathing in the evening is great for strengthening night sleep at any age.

It is best to form a regimen for the baby during the neonatal period. Until a month, you, of course, will not be able to do this, because at this age wakefulness and sleep are chaotically mixed. But even so, there may be a semblance of a regime: the baby eats, then is awake a little and after a short time falls asleep, wakes up already before the next feeding. At this age, nothing can disturb the sleep of a healthy baby except hunger, wet diapers (diapers) and stomach pains due to gas. You can fix these problems.

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