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Sleep Deficit and Chronic Conditions in Children

Children that suffer from chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia or migraines can benefit from more sleep, leading to less less discomfort and pain.

Children require more sleep than any adult. It is when they grow, when they decompress, and when fuel up for another day of development. However, for some children sleep isn’t just vital for proper growth and function – it’s necessary to keep chronic childhood conditions from flaring up.

Many common conditions have multiple care plans to try to combat their symptoms. With children, however, it is always best to try to find the most organic form of therapy. An average child requires anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep a night to function properly. For children with chronic conditions such as migraines or Fibromyalgia, they would most likely benefit with more sleep.

Sleep produces serotonin. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter for the brain. When there is a significant drop in serotonin, the blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body swell as a reaction to the lack of hormone. As a result, migraine symptoms increase dramatically. Basically, the serotonin levels stop the brain from transmitting the signal to feel pain and subsequently the blood vessels do not respond by swelling.

Another issue with sleep deficit and chronic conditions is that it can create symptoms that are similar to other conditions. Many children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD because of symptoms that are similar to Fibromyalgia. More specifically, Fibromyalgia has a common symptom known as brain fog. It is described as a lack of focus, inattentiveness, irritability, and overall fatigue. These are symptoms that are remarkably similar to those of ADHD and ADD. Having a sleep deficit can greatly aggravate Fibromyalgia brain fog and can be misdiagnosed as a psycho-neurological disorder. What this leads to is an inappropriate treatment plan and often times an unsuccessful treatment result. Imagine what treating a child with a Ritalin derivative would do when the accurate approach would have been to treat chronic fatigue syndrome that often presents itself with Fibromyalgia.

It may be difficult to incorporate a strong sleep pattern in some children, especially those that struggle with certain chronic disorders; however there are some natural approaches that can render success. Melatonin in small doses has shown to be very effective to help children fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Other children benefit from a strong bedtime routine that includes meditation and low stimulation. The bottom line is that all children need adequate sleep. Children that have underlying chronic conditions not only need more sleep to thrive, they need it to remain successful in their treatment plan for migraines and Fibromyalgia.