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IntroductionSleepwalking in kids is a sleep disorder and is usually triggered by full bladder or bedwetting trouble. When the kids learn to control it, the sleeping disorder gets corrected on its own. Apart from it, there are various other causes responsible for triggering sleepwalking in kids. In this disorder, kids walk and perform various activities which are considered to be abnormal to carry out when a person is in a deep sleep state. What to do about sleepwalking disorder in kids is a common question that bothers parents of little sleepwalkers. It is because sleepwalking can sometimes become dangerous as there is every possibility that kids may trip and fall or get hurt by sharp objects or electrical appliances. They may even open the windows and doors and step out of their homes and wander alone out of their safe zones. The sleepwalking disorder is also known as somnambulism. Sleepwalkers are known as a somnambulist. Below-mentioned is preventive measures and home care tips which will help parents to take care of their little ones and avoid this disorder from developing in them.,
Measures to prevent sleepwalking disorder or somnambulism in kids
- Follow a bedtime-
Right from the young age, kids should be made to follow a strict timetable which in turn will instil in them habits of waking and going to bed at the same time every day. Parents should take care that their kids maintain good sleep hygiene. Do not entertain excuses of kids, and let them watch television or play video games for half an hour more. Any delay in sleeping hours will make them wake up late in the morning, and this kind of frequent change in timetable can trigger sleepwalking episodes in them. Irrespective of whether it is holiday time or a family reunion day; make them follow a strict bedtime. Do not promote their mid-afternoon or evening naps. Engage them in some activities so that they do not fall asleep during afternoons or evenings. Even if they fall asleep, make sure to cut down their sleeping time.
- Create soothing aura in the room-
Many kids show tantrums when their bedtime is near. They find difficulty in falling asleep. Also, they show similar behaviour when asked to wake up in the morning. Kids who sleep for adequate hours can only wake up at the right time in the morning. Thus, make sure the room in which kids sleep is soothing. Bed and pillows should be comfortable. The room temperature should be right for the kids. It should not be very hot or extremely cold. Otherwise, it can wake them in the middle of the night. Some kids cannot sleep in the dark. For them, a dim nightlight should be arranged. Some kids cannot sleep alone. Thus, parents must make sure that they spend some time with their kids and make them fall asleep before leaving them alone.
- Get rid of distractions-
Get rid of distractions from kid's room. Make sure there are no video games, television and noisy clocks in their rooms. It is common for a kid's room to have plenty of toys and gadgets. It is likely for kids to extend their playtime way beyond their bedtime. It is difficult for parents to remove every toy or gadget from their rooms before bedtime and put it back in the morning. Parents can lock these toys and gadgets in shelves so that kids do not play with them during their bedtime. Also, parents need to educate their kids regarding maintaining strict bed hygiene. When the kids will understand the importance, they will follow the rules. Parents must make sure that there is nothing is the home that can cause distractions and interfere with kids sleep time. Distractions can be anything from auditory to visual. Even parents who are watching television in their bedroom should lower the voice and also communicate with other house members in a low tone.
- Prepare kids before bedtime-
It is not ideal to ask kids to complete their homework or study before bedtime. A kid who is studying or playing a video game just before bedtime may find difficulty in falling asleep. There should be a smooth transition. Let kids relax before bedtime. Spare a few minutes reading to them their favourite poem or story. Sing to them or hear some relaxing music. A warm soothing bath will also make them feel relaxed. Use of essential oils also serves the purpose. The more relaxed they are, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep. Only a relaxed child will enjoy high-quality undisturbed sleep. Those who are forced to fall asleep may wake up in the middle of the night looking confused and disturbed, and sleepwalking may get triggered in them.
- Food and drinks before bedtime-
As described earlier, bedwetting triggers sleepwalking disorder in little kids. Thus, limit intake of liquid beverages before bedtime. Also, do not indulge them in caffeinated drinks and foods when their bedtime is near. Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks too. The glucose level in the blood will elevate and make kids active. Thus, they will find difficulty in sleeping. Sugar and caffeine are necessary for the morning time as they will act as fuel to run various errands. They serve no purpose during night time. Kids usually indulge in them when they see their parents consuming such foods and drinks. Thus, it will be a good habit for parents to skip them from their diet. It will encourage their kids to not indulge in them.
- Ask kids to urinate before going to bed-
Make sure the kids empty their bladder before their bedtime. As described earlier, kids who suffer from bedwetting problems are at high risk of suffering from the sleepwalking disorder or somnambulism. Also, kids who have the urge to frequently urinate also experience the same. Thus, parents should make sure that their kids empty their bladders and do not drink liquid beverages just before going to bed. Kids may be reluctant to go to bathrooms but despite that encourage this habit in them which will prevent restlessness in them and will prevent sleepwalking episodes.
- Keep them calm-
It is not true that little kids do not get stressed out or feel depressed. There may be something or someone that's bothering them. Thus, do not overlook the problem when they cry or feel sad. Talk to them and try to understand what's troubling them. Try to solve their issues. Make sure they learn to deal with their issues right from the young age without getting disturbed. Teach them coping techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Take them to nature walks and teach them various healing techniques. When their mind and body remains calm and relaxed, the sleepwalking disorder does not occur in them.
Home care tips for little sleepwalkersSleepwalking episodes can be prevented in little kids by making a few changes in their lifestyle. When parents make sure that their kids follow a healthy lifestyle, they can minimize or completely prevent sleepwalking disorder or somnambulism in their little ones. One does not have to visit a professional and seek help regarding this aspect. Parents can plan and bring these changes in their kid's life on their own within their homes. A healthy lifestyle can be achieved by below-mentioned home care tips.
- Healthy eating habits-
Parents must ensure that the foods and drinks their kids consume are all healthy. Kids should get the right amount of nutrition and calories required for their age, and all the calories should come from healthy sources. Just because it is the weekend or if their kid is craving for unhealthy food, parents should not give up on the idea of good nutrition. Commonly, kids crave for chocolates, sugary foods, cold beverages and street-side food. Frequently allowing them to eat and drink what they like is not good for their health. When they eat well, they sleep well. Kids, who sleep well, stay away from a sleeping disorder such as sleepwalking. Make sure their diet is rich in calcium and for that encourage them to drink more milk and consume milk products. Make sure their diet fulfils the daily nutritional requirements of their body.
- Exercises to keep mind and body active-
Make sure the kids exercise regularly. Do not stop them from playing. The more they play and exercise their body, the better will be their sleep hygiene. Take them to short hiking and nature walks on weekends. Encourage them to cycle and jog. Teach them yoga and deep breathing exercises. Make sure they maintain body weight which is right for their age. Kids who are obese or carry excess body weight may not sleep well. There is a high chance that they may suffer from sleepwalking episodes. Make sure to encourage creativity by indulging them in drawing, painting, crafts and plays. Creativity keeps mind active and fit. It is like an exercise to the mind. Healthy mind and body are necessary to prevent sleepwalking episodes in kids.