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Sleep Disturbances In Children

 - Al-Shaqaa’iq magazine

Sleep is a mercy from the Lord of the World.  

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And have made the night as a covering" [al-Naba’ 78:10]

(i.e., as a covering for you. Hence the scholars agreed that sleeping at night is very important for physical health.)

During the first years of life, a child sleeps approximately 22 hours a day, but he wakes up from time to time because he is hungry or sick or thirsty, or for some other need.

The hours of sleep are reduced until the child sleeps for 10 hours when he is six years old, and eight hours when he reaches his teens.

The child has to sleep for this number of hours so that he will grow up healthy and free from nervous tension.

Mistakes that we make:

Delaying the child’s sleep causes nervous tension, especially when he has to be woken up to go to school and he has not had enough sleep. This can lead to him not being able to focus in the classroon or even falling asleep in class.

Some families have a strict bedtime which is never changed for any reason whatsoever.

The child has to sleep at eight o’clock no matter what the circumstances. This is a mistake because if the child is having fun playing, then he is forced to go to sleep, this is a kind of abuse and a lack of respect for his personality.

If the child goes to sleep tense, this will be reflected in his sleep, and he will have nightmares and will not be relaxed in his sleep.

Some fathers wake their child up to play with him  

or because they have bought a new toy for him, especially when the father has been at work all day and this is the only opportunity he has.

But this is a mistake, because you are interrupting your child’s sleep and it will be difficult for him to relax and go to back to sleep.

Some parents use scare tactics to make their children go to sleep.

 This is the worst mistake that parents can make.

Some mothers tell their children frightening stories  

which may scare them. This has negative effects on the child’s sleep, in the form of nightmares which disturb his sleep.

Some families encourage their children to drink liquids such as juice or water, etc., especially just before bedtime.  

This leads to the bedwetting which most families complain of.

Closing the door on the child when he goes to sleep  

and it is very dark cultivates a fear of the dark in the child; it also makes him restless and unable to sleep well.

Not making the child get used to sleeping alone from an early age.  

Some families allow the child to sleep with the parents or the mother until the age of six.

This is a serious mistake, because it makes the child grow up dependent on others and restless.

Hence we advise parents to get their children used to sleeping alone from an early age, after few years, so that they will be used to that.

Finally: we note that many of the problems which children are suffering from, such as bedwetting, fear of the dark, screaming in their sleep (“night terrors”), falling asleep in school, not being able to concentrate or not going to school at all… are all caused by disturbed sleep and restlessness

Al-Shaqaa’iq magazine, issue #36, p. 44.


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