If you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or wake up very early in the morning, you may be suffering from insomnia. It is not enough to close your eyes, and simply count sheep and hope you will enter the world of slumber. Most people, of ALL ages, have occasional insomnia at some point in their lives, experiencing it due to changes in sleep schedules (as during travel) or stressful circumstances, for example.

However, when it starts happening frequently and becomes long term, it can really cause problems in your day to day functioning. You may feel sleepy putting you and others at increased risk of injury if you drive a vehicle or operate machinery. You may also have trouble concentrating, and experience problems with your memory. When you are not getting enough sleep due to insomnia, little stressors can feel like huge stressors, and your coping skills deteriorate. As a result, your relationships with your family, friends, and/or co-workers will suffer as well.

To complicate matters, people with insomnia often also have anxiety or an anxiety disorder. Further complicating things, if you have both anxiety and depression, your insomnia is often worse.

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So why do anxiety and insomnia often co-exist in individuals?

Is insomnia in children and teens similar to adults?

The signs and symptoms of insomnia in children and teens can include:

Some ways to help a child or teen with insomnia

  • Try to determine the cause of the insomnia first
  • Once you determine the cause, try to eliminate the stressor
  • Establish and follow a bedtime routine
  • Limit your child’s or teen’s access to the news
  • Do not discuss anxiety-provoking or stressful situations before bedtime
  • Teach your older child stress management and anxiety-reducing techniques
  • Teach and use good sleep hygiene methods
  • Set up the bedroom for rest and relaxation
  • Remove technology devices from the bedroom
  • Spend extra time with your children and teens
  • Consult a physician or naturopathic doctor