Health Sleeping Habits

Signs, Causes and Treatment for Sleep Deprivation in Toddlers

Sleep deprivation refers to inadequate sleep. As grown-ups, we tend to become sluggish when we are tired. But if your toddler is not getting adequate sleep, she may become more active. So the signs can be challenging to find.

It is important to note that usually, a one-year-old will sleep for about 13 hours and 30 minutes each day, together with a two-hour daytime siesta. By the time she is three, this will be decreased to around 12 hours, which may or may not include a one-hour siesta during the day. If your toddler seems to be sleeping less than she is accustomed to, it may just be that she needs less sleep, now that she is a little older.

But, at times your toddler might not be getting the sleep he needs. If he continues to lose sleep, he may become sleep-deprived.

Signs that indicate your toddler is sleep-deprived
  • Having difficulty getting to sleep. Sleep deprivation may make it difficult to get your toddler to settle at bedtime and at night.
  • Being short-tempered and grumpy during the day. All toddlers have their cranky moments, but if your toddler appears to be in a bad mood all the time, inadequate sleep could be the reason.
  • Sleeping late in the morning. Most toddlers wake comparatively early in the morning, so if your toddler likes staying asleep till late in the morning, he may not be getting adequate sleep.
  • Overactive behaviour. Inadequate sleep can make it harder for your kid to focus, and he may become unfocused easily. This might make him appear over-thrilled and more fidgety than typical.
  • Falling asleep outside of his normal nap and sleep times regularly. After a routine has been set, toddlers typically like to stick to it. Thus, if he is falling asleep in weird places at random times, he might need a bit more shut-eye.
Causes of sleep deprivation in toddler

Changes to the routine or surroundings of the toddler may at times affect his sleep patterns. The arrival of a new sibling, going on a family holiday, moving house, or moving to a big bed can affect his capability to settle himself to sleep. He might need time to settle into his new routine or get accustomed to any changes in his world.

Teething or illness can also disrupt your toddler’s sleep owing to pain or discomfort. Cough, a stifling nose, or a molar coming out, may make it difficult to settle back to sleep if he wakes up or drift off at bedtime.

Few paediatricians believe that sleep disruption can be a sign of a growth spurt or a suggestion that your toddler is learning a new skill. If this is the case, you will possibly find that he settles back to his usual routine in a few days.

Occasionally, difficulty sleeping can be a symptom of something else. Sleep apnea is a condition where the airways in the throat become either completely or partly blocked during sleep and interrupt breathing. Even though it sounds upsetting, sleep apnea is a common and treatable condition. Your paediatricians will be able to verify a diagnosis and suggest the best treatment for your kid.

Tips for Improving Your Child’s Sleep

  • Set up a regular time for bed every night and do not differ from it. In the same manner, the waking time must not differ from weekend to weekday by more than 1 to 1 and a half hours.
  • Make a soothing bedtime routine, such as reading a story or offering your child a warm bath.
  • Do not offer any drinks with caffeine at least six hours earlier than bedtime.
  • Avoid offering big meals to children around bedtime.
  • Ensure that the bedroom temperature is comfortable and dark.
  • Ensure the noise level in the house is low.
  • Make playtime after-dinner a soothing time, as too much activity near bedtime can keep children wide awake.
  • There should be no radio, television, mobile phone, computer, or music playing while the child is going to sleep. Video games and TV should be switched off at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Infants and children should be put to bed when they look tired but are still awake.

Consult with the healthcare provider of the child if these tips do not help or if you need added guidance.

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