October 2021 Newsletter

Beansprout Pediatrics, live, love, grow. October 2021 issue. A deeper look inside this issue: When Sleep Feels Spooky. Fear of the Dark. Nightmares Vs Night Terrors. Good Sleep Hygiene. COVID & Flu Shot Updates When Sleep Feels Spooky, by Kate Smith, CPNP. Whoever coined the phrase "sleep like a baby" must have had a good sense of humor or have never slept in the same home as an actual baby. Sleep and restful nights are a challenge for many families with young children. From fear of the dark,  nightmares, and night terrors, here are some suggestions for families to improve sleep hygiene at every age. Fear of the Dark. Fear of the dark is one of the most common childhood fears. It is developmentally normal starting around 2 years of age and is usually not a sign of a serious mental health problem. Helping your child to learn how to overcome their fear of the dark usually takes time and patience. You can talk with your child about what scares them while being sympathetic and acknowledging their fears. It usually does not help to belittle their fears or try to get them to "be brave." You may begin to gently encourage your child, without forcing them, to come face-to-face with their fears in small doses. For example, you may put a nightlight on or leave the door slightly open if that helps them to feel better, slowly weaning to a darker room for better sleep. You can also remind your child of their strengths to build their self confidence during times that they are afraid. Relaxation techniques like imagining a comforting place and sharing a positive family memory may also help. Nightmares vs Night Terrors. Nightmares and Night Terrors are two different sleep problems. What is the difference between them and how do we help children with them? Nightmare List: Nightmares occur in the second half of sleep called REM. They are unpleasant dreams that can cause anxiety and are usually well remembered by your child. Night terrors occur in the first part of sleep and have a quick onset of intense fear that may look like screaming, crying, and confusion. Unlike nightmares, a child usually will not remember a night terror. Nightmares are very common and occur in 90% of all children at one point or another while night terrors occur in about less than 10%. If your child has a nightmare, it is best to reassure them that they are safe, let them tell you about their dream, acknowledge that it must have been scary, and remind them that it was not real. It may also help to practice self soothing statements like "I am safe in my home and nothing can harm me." Once they have calmed down, they may be encouraged to go back to sleep. Night Terror List: If your child is having a night terror they may not be fully awake and may be difficult to wake. Episodes usually last less than 10 minutes and then your child will return to sleep immediately- as they were never truly awake to begin with. It is best to stay calm and avoid touching your child if they are physically safe during this episode. It can be unsettling to witness but night terrors are not dangerous and your child most likely will not remember that they happened. Though a child may have nightmares or night terrors for a period of time, these issues resolve spontaneously most of the time. Good sleep hygiene at every age! A list of suggestions: Have a consistent bedtime and wake time even on the weekends. Daily physical activity (but not right before bedtime) Make sure your sleep environment is cool, dark and comforting Get plenty of bright light in the morning time. Avoid electronics or bright lights for at least 30-60 minutes prior to bed. Avoid caffeine. Avoid heavy meals in the evenings. If sounds at bedtime or in the middle of the night make sleep difficult, a sound machine may be helpful. COVID and flu shot updates! we expect that COVID vaccines will soon be approved through Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for children ages 5-11. We will follow AAP and CDC recommendations and will continue to offer this advice to our Beansprout Families. Flu Clinic is now open and available to the whole family. Schedule your family flu shots online or call our office for flu clinic Appointments. (512) 610- 7030 www.beansproutpediatrics.com