How to stop your child’s nightmares
By Stephanie Falcone
Does your child ever wake you up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream?
The child's environment
This is a common issue with young ones. Studies have shown 25% of young children experience nightmares at least once a week. But what is the cause of this terror in these poor kids' minds? Keep reading… these suggestions are worth a try!
Is your child's bedroom a comforting environment for sleeping? It is very important for him or her to feel safe as they close their eyes for the night. To assure this, talk to your child to find out what will soothe them. Most children prefer to sleep with a light nearby. Because the electric bill will sky rocket if you install a light dimmer, a simple plug-in night light will do the trick. In addition to the night light, leaving the door slightly cracked will reassure them they are not alone. Even adults get the feeling of being "trapped" if in a closed-in area for long periods of time. My third suggestion, which can differ in certain situations, is add positivity to the room with music. A soft and soothing genre of music, country for example, will distract them from negative thoughts and send them to their dreamland with hopeful lyrics in mind.
The child's troubles/ fears
Even though looking back on those young years feels like all laughter and play, we all know growing up had its pressures. The fear of your first day of school, getting blamed for something you didn't do, or troubles at home… talk to your child. Talking to them gives them a chance to empty out all the bottled fears from their mind. Diminish their stress and encourage happy thoughts which will lead to happy dreams.
The child's intake
Get this! This sounds bizarre but WHAT you eat and WHEN you eat it are contributing factors to a poor quality sleep or a night full of nightmares. A study in the International Journal of Psychophysiology
found those who ate spicy foods before bed were awoken throughout the night due to elevated body temperatures. This being said, bad dreams are known to occur when a child is continuously woken up abruptly during the night. Keep this in mind and save those foods with an extra kick for the middle of the day! Also, foods with high fat content negatively affect sleep… which I'm sure most of us have experienced those nights. Weighed down and maybe even an upset stomach, fatty foods/ junk foods definitely have a negative impact on dreams.
The child's medications
There are many medications that affect children, people in general. If your child suffers from ADHD, it is common for bad dreams to be a side effect of the medication prescribed (ex Strattera). Not that you should put a stop to the treatment, just keep in mind the medication could be a potential factor to the child's unsettling dreams.
HINT: I know the saying seems to just roll off the tongue when you're tucking them in, but "Don't let the bed bugs bite!" isn't the most comforting thought to leave them with as you exit the dark room.
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