Does Your Child Suffer From Coronasomnia?

More Time Indoors Has Created Sleep Problems in Kids

By Courtney Daly-Pavone June 13, 2020

*This article is a 3 minute read

It's almost 10 pm, and your child is jumping on the couch watching cartoons. 

What's happening? 

It's after midnight, your child is online, TV blaring, and they're eating a snack.  

What's happening? 

If your child's bedtime has gotten shorter you're not alone.  According to The Sleep Foundation, "It can be difficult to adjust to a new daily schedule or lack of a schedule." School closures, limited outdoor activities, lack of playdates, anxiety over the pandemic, and minimal physical exercise can all lead to insomnia.

Dr. Ran Anbar, a pediatrician who teaches hypnosis and provides counseling to improve the mental health of children, says insomnia is one of the common reasons patients are referred to him. Children's lives have been massively disrupted by Covid-19.  Dr. Anbar recommends against changing their schedule when school is out because then it would require a readjustment when school is back in session (even with on-line education.)

Dr. Ran Anbar's Tips To Relieve Insomnia in Kids 

1) Children should be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, during which time they participate in aerobic exercise (which uses oxygen) such as running or playing basketball. The exercise should end no later than 2 hours before bedtime.

2) Children should avoid napping during the daytime.

3) Avoid caffeinated beverages, or eating a large meal within 2 hours of
bedtime. A soothing drink at bedtime, such as chamomile tea, can help them fall

4) Their bed should only be used for sleeping (instead of playing games or
studying). In this way the body learns to associate lying in bed with becoming

5) The bedroom should be kept relatively cool, and the bed should feel comfortable.

6) Children should stop using electronics an hour before bedtime, and not have access
to electronics when they are in bed.

7) Children can be allowed to read books or listen to calming music just before falling
asleep. Younger children can enjoy a bedtime story or lullaby.

8) Children can be taught how to use their imaginations to fall asleep, such as
imagining that they are falling asleep in a favorite hammock, or how it would feel to
drink a sleep potion.

9) If a child expresses fears about going to sleep, these should be addressed. For
example, if a child is afraid of the dark, a night light can be helpful. A child who
worries about what dreams they might have could be given a dream catcher, or
taught self-calming techniques such as hypnosis or breathing techniques.

What Parents Should Avoid Doing...
According to Dr. Anbar, "Parents should avoid helping their child go to sleep by staying with them until the child falls asleep, because by doing so the child’s sleep routine involves having the parent present. When such children wake up at night it is not surprising that they seek their parent’s help to fall asleep again."

Dr. Anbar adds, "Parents should avoid arguments with their children at bedtime, nor should they become upset with the child when sleep is an issue, since when a parent becomes emotional it affects the child’s calm."

Teach Children The Importance of Sleep

Dr. Anbar states, "Older children should be taught about the benefits of sleep including that they become taller while they are asleep, sleeping helps their minds make new connections and thus makes them smarter, and that sleep helps keep their immune system strong, e.g., to fight against the coronavirus. When children learn these facts they often become more cooperative about going to sleep!

About Melatonin

Dr. Anbar cautions, "Sleep aids that are ingested should not be the first choice in addressing insomnia, because anything that is put into the body could have side-effects. That being said, sometimes Melatonin, which is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body, can be very effective when given an hour before bedtime. People can respond very differently to Melatonin. A typical dosage is 3 mg, but effective dosage can range from 0.5 mg – 10 mg. In the case of Melatonin, a large dose sometimes is less effective than a small dose! Other sleep aids that could help include magnesium, which helps activate the brain chemicals that are responsible for sleep and 5-hydroxytryptophan that can boost production of serotonin, which may improve sleep regulation.

To Connect With Dr. Anbar Visit: 

Center Point Medicine

3252 Holiday Court, Suite 113, La Jolla, CA 92037

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