Child not Sleeping Well? What to Know

Children aren’t always forthcoming if they’re not getting enough sleep. For younger kids, they may not have the vocabulary to tell you they’re having trouble falling asleep, or that they’re waking up throughout the night. Older kids may not want you to know they’re staying up late talking to their friends or trying to finish last-minute homework because they don’t want to worry you. However, there are universal signs you can look out for that will help you know your child’s not getting his full recommended hours, or that he’s having difficulty sleeping through the night. If your child’s not sleeping well, here’s what to know. Even occasional sleeplessness can have a big impact It might not seem like a big deal if your child gets a few bad nights in here and there — but the truth is, even one sleepless night can have a big effect on your child’s mood and performance. Common next-day symptoms of a restless night can include:

  • Moodiness & irritability. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, he may have more trouble regulating his mood and be more irritable than usual. Short-term, this can mean outbursts and tantrums. Long-term, this can have a big impact on his social life and mental well-being.

  • Fogginess & lack of concentration. If your child had a sleepless night, she may find it extremely difficult to concentrate the next day. This is especially problematic for school-age children, who are expected to learn and remember at a rapid rate. Chronic sleeplessness could cause low grades and poor school performance.

  • Unexplained sadness. Not getting enough sleep can cause difficulty in regulating emotion in older kids and teenagers. When your child sleeps, his brain “resets.” If his brain is chronically unrested, this can lead to low moods.

  • Loss of motor function. Motor function is important in everything from painting to music to sports. After a bad night’s sleep, kids may be clumsier or slower than usual, and paired with a lack of energy, this can make a usually fun activity a slog.

Your child may not realize she’s not getting enough sleep

Many children genuinely don’t know they’re not getting enough sleep. This is especially true if your child is chronically under-sleeping: if she doesn’t know what a consistent great night’s sleep feels like, she may not recognize she’s not getting it. She could also be falling asleep quickly but waking up frequently throughout the night, which she may or may not remember.

If you think your child may not be getting enough sleep, look for these signs:

  • Extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning

  • Oversleeping on the weekends

  • Snappiness, moodiness, and irritability

  • Increase in appetite and weight gain

  • Sudden change in mood

These are all signs your child isn’t sleeping well and may need help from you.

There are ways you can help

Occasional sleeplessness happens to most of us, which is why the sleep experts at ZzzQuil have dedicated their energy to helping parents and children fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.

  • Teach great sleep hygiene

  • Stick to a consistent routine

  • Remove bright screens (like phones or laptops) from your child’s bedroom

  • Create a great sleep environment

  • Don’t let your child oversleep on weekends

  • Consider a melatonin-based sleep aid, like PURE Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Gummies

  • Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you & your family.

If your child isn’t sleeping well, the sleep experts at ZzzQuil are here to help. Read more information, hints, tips, and techniques to help your child get the rest his growing body and brain need.