Does your child get out of bed and walk around? Did your child sit up in bed and open their eyes without waking up from sleep? Is your child acting confused or disorganised? Does he/she talk gibberish while sleeping? These are some common signs of sleepwalking in kids. Around 29% of children are dealing with sleepwalking. Let’s dive deeper into it to understand more about causes, symptoms, tips and foods to manage sleepwalking in children.
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What is Sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is commonly described as somnambulism, which is a type of sleep disorder called parasomnia in kids. Parasomnias are irregular sleeping patterns. It is usually characterised by getting out of the bed and walking around in the middle of sleeping. Sleepwalking is more prevalent in children than adults. Sleepwalking takes place while you are sleeping deeply. Most frequently, it happens one to two hours after you go to sleep since this activity peaks in the early hours of the night. The sleepwalking episodes don’t indicate any major issues or need special medical attention. The majority of them get over it by the time they hit adolescence, although it can occasionally last into adulthood.
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Symptoms of Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking episodes can happen sometimes or frequently, and it typically lasts a few minutes. Here are some common signs of sleepwalking:
- Open eyes and sit up in bed without waking from sleep
- Kids may step out of bed and go for a walk
- Have watery eyes and a glazed look
- They do not reply to or interact with others
- Disorganised and confused
- Nightmares or sleep terrors
- Hard to wake from sleepwalking episodes
- Difficulty focusing in the day time due to interrupted sleep
- Not able to recall the incident in the morning
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Causes of sleepwalking
However the causes for sleepwalking is still mysterious, scientists believe that there could be a connection between heredity and sleepwalking. Here are a few causes of sleep talking:
- Having sleep related issues or sleep disorders
- Over exhaustion
- Anxiety or depression
- Fever or other sickness
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Breathing problems
- Restless leg syndrome
- Side effects of medications
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Tips to prevent sleepwalking in kids
Parents can take some easy steps to control sleep talking in kids. Here are some tips:
A decent sleep can make a positive impact on your child’s entire day. Kids need to get enough night sleep so they can achieve their necessary growth milestones, play, learn and perform well. Following a proper bedtime routine can help to control sleepwalking in kids.
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2. Wake them
If your child consistently sleepwalks at the same hour each night, try to gently wake them for a few minutes 15 to 30 minutes earlier before their sleepwalking time. By changing their regular sleep cycle, this may prevent them from sleepwalking.
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3.AVOID SUGARY OR CAFFEINATED DRINKS
Don’t give coffee or soda to your kid before bedtime. These may raise energy levels and interfere with the child ‘s potential to get a good night’s sleep. Still, giving a warm cup of milk can help your kids to relax and calm before bedtime.
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4. COMFY BED SETTING
A cosy bed encourages peaceful sleep in kids. Choose high-quality soft pillows and bedding as well as adequate ventilation in the room to make your kid feel comfy in bed
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5. SUPPORT YOUR KID
Small events that occur in a kid’s life can upset them. Talk to your kids about those issues and then stand by them. It can reduce their anxiety, which can also help them to sleep better.
Also check, How to manage anxiety in kids?
Engage your kid in physical activities like cycling, swimming or playing any sport. This might enhance their night’s sleep.
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7. LIMIT SCREEN TIME
The bright lights emitted by electronic devices can prolong the release of sleep hormone (melatonin) and cause sleep deprivation in kids. Avoid playing video games or watching scary movies on television before bed.
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8.DON’T UNDERESTIMATE KID’S NIGHT TIME FEARS
Avoid telling scary bedtime stories to your kids. Use dim lights and mild music. Give them toys like stuffed animals and monster sprays for making them feel safe.
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9. Avoid crashes
Take some preventive measures to avoid crashes.
- Ensure the doors and windows are locked
- Set alarms on doors and windows
- Remove sharp or breakable objects from child’s room
- Put keys away from the reach of children
- To avoid stumbling, take away any barriers from your child’s room and other areas of your house.
- Keep potentially harmful items out of reach.
- Don’t allow your sleepwalker to sleep in a bunk bed to avoid falls.
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Foods that help to regulate sleep cycle
Foods that help to improve the sleep cycle and manage the sleepwalking are given as follows:
A study published in 2005 in Nutritional neuroscience suggested that consuming tryptophan alongside a carbohydrates source is one of the best ways to treat sleep deprivation. Pumpkin seeds may be small but they are packed with valuable nutrients. They are rich in healthy fats, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and zinc. If your kid has trouble sleeping, give a few pumpkin seeds before bed with small amounts of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit. It may be beneficial in providing the body with tryptophan needed for melatonin production, which can lead to better sleep. Also, for younger kids, powdered pumpkin seeds can be an option.
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Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews are often considered to be a good food source for sleep. They contain melatonin (sleep hormone) as well as magnesium, vitamin B6, protein and zinc. Magnesium is helpful in promoting sleep because of its ability to reduce inflammation (body heat). The level of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep, can be reduced by including nuts in your diet.
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Chamomile is considered to be a safe and effective way to help a child relax. It’s a dried flower. These flowers are white and yellow and look like beautiful little daisies. Native to Europe and Asia. For centuries, it has been used for medicinal purposes to calm the mind and mildly induce sleep.It Improves relaxation and relieves stress, reduces anxiety, promotes sleep and also relieves insomnia.
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Lemon balm extracts: A Phytomedicine Compound Improves Symptoms of hyperactivity, Attention Deficits, and Impulsivity in Children. As per the study conducted by NIH, the fraction of children having strong/very strong symptoms of poor ability to focus decreased from 75% to 14%, hyperactivity from 61% to 13%, and impulsiveness from 59% to 22%. Parent rated social behavior, sleep and symptom burden showed highly significant improvements.
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Pure Cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin which is helpful to improve cognition in studies. Hence, cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children.
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