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What to Do if your Child Wakes Up Frequently at Night

If you are a parent of a young child, you may have experienced the frustration of being woken up by your child in the middle of the night. Whether it is because of nightmares, night terrors, snoring, illness, or anxiety, night wakings can disrupt your child’s sleep quality and your own. Here are some tips on how to help your child sleep better and reduce night wakings.

The Right Amount of Sleep

Make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep overall. Too much or too little daytime sleep causes problems at night. Try 10 to 13 hours of sleep for toddlers and 9 to 11 hours for preschoolers. Avoid napping too late in the day or too close to bedtime.


Get gung-ho about the bedtime routine. A consistent and relaxing bedtime routine helps your child wind down and prepare for sleep. Include activities like reading, singing, cuddling, or listening to soothing music. Avoid screens, caffeine, sugar, and excitement before bed.


Keep your child comfortable. Ensure your child’s bedroom is dark, quiet, calm, and cozy. You can use curtains, blinds, or shades to block out any light. You can also use a white noise machine or a fan to mask any noise. Adjust the temperature and humidity to suit your child’s preference. Provide your child with comfortable pajamas, bedding, and pillows.

Security Blankets

A lovey is a stuffed animal, blanket, or object your child can cuddle with for comfort and security. A lovey can help your child feel safe and calm when they wake up at night. Ensure the lovey is safe for your child’s age and does not pose a choking or suffocation hazard.

Nightmares and Night Terrors

Night Terrors and nightmares are common causes of night wakings in children. Nightmares are dreams that occur during REM sleep, while night terrors are intense fear and screaming that occur during non-REM sleep. To prevent nightmares, avoid exposing your child to scary or violent images or stories before bed. To stop night terrors, ensure your child is not overtired, stressed, or overheated. If your child has a nightmare or a night terror, comfort them and reassure them that they are safe.

Watch Screen Time

Too much screen time affects your child’s sleep quality and quantity. Screens give blue light that suppresses melatonin production, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Screen time can also stimulate your child’s brain and make it harder for them to fall or stay asleep. Limit screen time to no more than one hour per day for children under five, and stop screen time one hour before bed.

Medical Help

Sometimes, night wakings can be caused by underlying medical issues or disorders that require treatment. Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea. This condition causes a pause in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can affect your child’s oxygen levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and growth. Other medical issues that can cause night wakings include ear infections, allergies, asthma, reflux, or eczema. If you suspect your child has a medical problem that affects their sleep, consult your pediatrician.

Normal Night Wakings

Night wakings are common in young children, but they can be managed with some strategies and patience. Following these tips can help your child sleep better and longer at night. For more childcare tips check out our blog. Always ask your doctor before beginning any treatment or medication.