Kids go through so many stages and changes while they’re little, and some days it feels like it goes by in the blink of an eye. It may also feel like it went by in a flash due to the lack of sleep we’ve been getting the last few years.
Out of all of the stages and milestones that young kids go through, one of the toughest is sleep regression. It happens at many stages, and even after kiddos are done with those sleep roadblocks, they can still have a lot of trouble sleeping.
So today, we want to talk all about reasons why kids can’t sleep and then give you some great natural sleep aids that can help them get better sleep starting tonight. Here at The Natural Patch Co., we are all about doing things the natural way. We know the tips and tricks below are sure to help them get the rest they need to be their best without harmful chemicals or artificial products.
Three Reasons Kids Can’t Sleep
Lots of issues or reasons can be attributed to why our kids aren’t getting enough rest. While it may have something to do with a daily issue, or something random, for those who habitually suffer from poor sleep, these are some of the top reasons they may be having trouble.
Sleep regressions are part of those early years of your child’s life. We love those years when they’re learning to walk and talk and think for themselves; we just wish they would learn how to sleep through the night first.
Regressions generally coincide with big growth spurts or development milestones that cause their routine to be thrown off. One day they’re going to be at sundown and sleeping till breakfast. The next, they’re staying up all night and still able to rally the next day.
These growth spurts cause kiddos to be hungrier than typical for them or their age, so they are waking up more often to eat, and their fuller-than-usual bellies at night are keeping them awake longer.
They Need More Activity
Some kids just have a lot of energy. Okay, almost all children have a ton of energy. This means that they need ample activity during the day to deplete those energy levels before bedtime.
A child that isn’t getting enough exercise throughout the day will be hyper or full of energy when it’s time to get in bed. They’ll have trouble sitting still or relaxing enough to get to sleep.
As parents, we know this means they’ll either play in their room long after we expect them to be asleep. Or they will try to leave their beds a million times for water before eventually nodding off.
Kids love carbs, and unfortunately for a lot of parents, this love of carbs makes it hard to get the other food groups in kids’ bellies. An imbalanced diet will lead to kids being full of the wrong kind of sugars and, ultimately, the wrong kinds of energy.
An improper diet, heavy on starches and sugars, will give kids fuel for the day, but they’ll crash due to the artificial sugars in their foods. When they crash, they’ll need more of the empty carbs and calories they’ve already had to get over the midday hump.
Nutritious foods will give them more energy than they need for the rest of the day, causing them to be a little more hyper than usual at bedtime.
What Happens When Children Are Sleep-Deprived
Kids need their sleep, and when they don’t get it, that usually spells a bit of bad news for parents. These are two ways that a day or week can be completely derailed due to a child that just doesn’t want to go to bed.
They Feel Grumpy
We know that, as adults, stressors can lead to bad moods as they take their toll on our mental state. The same can be true for children. When kids don’t get the sleep they need to be their best the next day, we all pay the price.
With little sleep, brains aren’t reset and rested for another day full of fun and excitement. This leads to a lot of tantrums, breakdowns, and kids who just won't cooperate. It’s not a fun situation to be in and can make it difficult to accomplish daily errands.
The Have Trouble With Daily Activities
Kids that go to school may find it hard to complete tasks handed out by teachers and will probably be the least fun kid on the playground. When kids don’t have the opportunity to refresh and properly energize their bodies and minds, they won’t be prepared to do any of their favorite activities the next day.
Sleep provides us with the time we need to reset. Without a proper amount of sleep, we can’t fully reset ourselves. Kids in school that will have to learn but also participate in lessons will find their attention practically non-existent and their capacity to learn pretty low.
7 Natural Sleep Aids For Kids
Okay, parents, now that we know why our kids need all that healthy sleep, let’s talk about how we can help them get to sleep at night and stay that way until the next morning. Our kids may love staying up late, but they really can’t handle all that extra time awake, so helping them get into a good routine is crucial.
1. Weighted Blanket
Being comfortable in bed is a key factor in getting to sleep fast and settling in for the night. For kids who have a hard time settling down and staying asleep, a weighted blanket can provide a lot of much-needed comfort and security in their bed.
2. Blue-Light Blockers
Kids enjoy movies and tablet time, but the blue light from phones and tablets can alter their sleeping patterns. This blue light confuses our eyes and bodies, and we take it as sunlight. When this happens, our bodies don’t know when to release melatonin to help us get to bed.
Use a pair of blue light blockers during movie time so kids aren’t affected by the blue light and can still get to bed on time.
3. More Outdoor Outings
Ample fresh air and outdoor activity will help exhaust those energy reserves all kids have and help them welcome bedtime.
Studies have shown that extra time outdoors versus inside on electronics will help kids fall asleep at least three minutes faster than those kids that stay indoors all day.
4. Magnesium Lotion
Some kids do really well with a magnesium lotion before bedtime. Oftentimes, kids get restless at bedtime simply because we expect the opposite reaction. We want them to slowly relax to bed, and instead, they get a little extra hyper and refuse to lie down.
Magnesium can work by helping children chill out and relax enough to let sleep slowly take over. The downside can be that kids with textural issues might hate the lotion being rubbed into their skin.
5. Kid-Friendly Herbal Teas
Some kids do really well with a nice warm cup of herbal tea right before bed. A kid-friendly herbal tea can help kids relax and kickstart their brain’s process of creating melatonin. The warmth will also help them feel cozy and help encourage them to snuggle up and get ready for bed.
Aromatherapy is the act of utilizing the scents and aromas of essential oils to help kids fall asleep. They work for both kids and children, and the healing properties of different oils work together as a perfect recipe to trigger the brain’s process of creating melatonin and relaxing the mind.
If you’re looking for the perfect product, our SleepyPatch is just what you need. They’re cute sticker designs that go on clothes, not on skin, and are full of enough essential oils to keep you asleep for up to eight hours.
These all-natural stickers will release a specific amount of scents at timed intervals to keep your brain on the right track to get you and your kids the sleep you need. Create a routine that works for the family and incorporate the stickers right into it to help kids get to bed on time and stay that way all night.
7. Alternative Night Lights
Many night lights are too bright for kids to truly get the deep sleep they need. Their bodies will sense the brightness and try to wake them up. When this happens, their sleep schedule is altered, and their sleep is off track.
Try a salt lamp, which has a softer, more natural light compared to the brighter artificial light of traditional options.
Get the Kids Their Zzzs
Hopefully, some of these natural sleep aids will be exactly what your kids need to get the sleep they need. In turn, you get the rest you crave. Raising kids is the best job we have ever been given, but we do a better job with the right rest and sleep each night.
With an awesome bedtime routine and our essential oil patches, we know that sleep is on the way.
Digital Media and Sleep in Childhood Adolescence | AAP
Falling asleep: the determinants of sleep latency | NCBI
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future | PMC