Researchers from Hasbro Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Case University School of Medicine, study has revealed that one in four children who have problems sleeping are being given medications which range from antihistamines to sedatives to ADHD drugs to antidepressants.
The FDA has not given authorization for any medications to be used in children under the age of eighteen. However, it appears that typical practice in conventional medicine is to treat insomnia in children with over-the-counter and prescription medicine. This practice is especially apparent in those children and adolescents with special needs and co-morbid psychiatric disorders according to Dr. Judith Owens, sleep expert at Hasbro and was leader of the study.
Almost 13,000 members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry completed a survey pertaining to the examination practices regarding prescription and non-prescription medications for insomnia in a child or adolescent by psychiatrists.
In a staggering response 96% of practitioners had recommended a minimum of one prescription medication in a normal month, while 86% recommended over-the-counter medicines. Antidepressants, antihistamines, stimulants and more were prescribed.
However, past studies have shown that sleep disorders are one of the prime reasons for psychiatric drugs in children. Even though alternative type treatments such as relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy have been proven effective and without negative effects.
Even though with the high rate of use and the broad range of medications practitioners have shown an expressive concern about the correct types of medications for general use in children.
The survey also showed over 75% of patients in the practitioners practice were children and adolescents and had seen at least 70 patients on average in a months time. Most of which were age six and older. The patient percentage with insomnia was overwhelming and gone up in percentages as the child’s age got older. Greater than 20% of preschoolers and one third of school age children have insomnia.
The researchers do call attention that basically all psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders in children which include depression and ADHD are linked with delayed sleep onset and sleep disruptions resulting with major daytime sleepiness and fatigue which can heighten psychiatric symptoms. This is the reason why psychiatrists are more likely to prescribe medications than pediatricians for insomnia.
Dr. Owens concludes that practitioners in the mental health field are responsible for the care of the children and need a goal to set on appropriate treatment options for insomnia.
Most parents today prefer not to give their children medications whether it is over-the-counter or prescribed which can have an assortment of side effects from mild to severe. Therefore, they are turning to alternative treatments to see which one’s may work best.
Some alternative treatments that have been used frequently include:
Research started in chiropractic care and insomnia has associated insomnia with subluxations meaning misalignment’s in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments can correct this problem. Subluxations inhibit the nerve impulses. The subluxations can cause an array of problems besides pain one of those insomnia. It is a totally safe choice to correct sleep disorders. Chiropractic care removes the stress that is the root of the cause of the sleep disorder.
Studies have shown 40% of pelvic subluxations and 15.8% cervical fixation in healthy school aged children. After treatments the problems of insomnia had rarely occurred again.
Many parents have reported improvements in their child’s sleep patterns after chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatments sessions and frequency is dependent upon the chiropractor and how well the effects are lasting in the child. Usually with subluxations problems are corrected almost in the first treatment and just monthly follow up care may be suggested.
A recent study has given confirmation to acupressure for the treatment of insomnia. The treatment currently lasts an average of two weeks.
Acupressure like acupuncture uses pressure points for the bodies natural healing. For children acupressure is commonly used instead of acupuncture that consist of needles. The treatment is basically the same expect pressure is applied manually to specific points. A point for example would be in the bottom of the foot. It is not advised to try acupressure yourself but seek out a qualified practitioner.
Baby Sound Machines
Baby sound machines can be used for infants, children and even adolescents. There are several different machines which release the white noise in different options. These machines produce soothing sounds to produce restful sleep. Choices range from baby sound machines to white noise and natural sound conditioners. There are sound cards for babies, sound cards consisting of nature sounds and oasis sound cards. Places such as Sleep Well Baby and Sound Machine Direct are located online.
Herbs have been used for thousands of years even in children to promote sleep.
Chamomile is known for many years to aide in promoting sleep. Purchase chamomile in a tea form. Give one cup of tea prior to bedtime. It is perfectly safe for children.
California Poppy reacts as a mild sedative and you can purchase it as a liquid extract.
Jasmine as in tea is another choice to promote sleep for children and has been known to be very effective.
Sage is another herb used to promote sleep and can be added to meal at dinner time as a spice.
Wild Lettuce is used for restlessness and insomnia. It can treat acute and chronic insomnia. Due to its completely safe and calming effects it is great for children.
Kava Kava it brings calmness and relaxes the body. It has sedative effects and can be purchased as a tea.
If you are going to use on skin mix the essential oil in vegetable carrier oil or sweet almond oil by using three drops of essential oils with five teaspoons of carrier oil for children under 7 and one to three for under three. Never use on infants.
If you are going to use in a warm bath for children add three to five drops for children over two and one drop for under two.
Some of the recommended essential oils for sleep:
Chamomile is great for children.
Jasmine provides a sedative and relaxing effect.
Lavender is also fantastic for children promotes calmness and soothing effects.
Sweet marjoram is warming and comforting and has sedative effects.
Even children with insomnia can reap the benefits of massage therapy.
In one study done children and adolescents who had massage therapy done for thirty minutes for five days slept longer and sounder. However, the number of treatments needed is dependent upon the effects it provides the child and the massage therapists recommendations.
Swedish massage is a smooth type of massage that flows. It can bring about overall relaxation. Since it is gentle in nature is used in children most of the times.
Bach Flower Remedies
Children show fast response to flower remedies in which parents have noted amazing effects on their children. They are safe and 100% natural.
For children you can apply two drops of the remedy in the mixing bottle which is 30ml and fill with water. Use four drops minimum four times a day. It has been noted children love the spray bottle since they can apply their own treatment.
There now is even a My 1st Bach kit for children which includes the rescue sleep spray and balm.
The kit cost about 21.50.
Other Bach remedies used include Aspen for waking up through the night, white chestnut when the child’s mind seems to be cluttered with too many thoughts. Bach flower remedies can be purchase online like at Bach Flower 4 Kids and Directly From Nature.
Famous warm milk choices
Warm milk has been given from mom’s to their children for years to help promote sleep. Here are a few warm milk ideas:
Warm milk with crushed almonds and pinch of nutmeg and cardamom
Warm milk with just a pinch of nutmeg
Warm milk with crushed garlic
Sleep forming habit
Set a regular bedtime with calming activities to do before bedtime. When this is constantly done repeated times the child’s body kicks into gear that tells it to get ready for sleep, accept it and sleep sound.
Foods to avoid
After dinner time do not let them consume foods with caffeine like soda, foods with colors and lots of sugar.
Craig Ranch Chiropractic
A & L Chiropractic Center
Sleep and Massage Therapy
Mariposa Family Chiropractic