Guest post by Cryrstal Hogan at The Hive

 Does you child having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Does having a nighttime routine seem impossible? Do you struggle getting them to even lay down at bed or naptime? Does your child seem to have more energy at bedtime so you are struggling to get them to relax so they get the sleep you know they need? Just because they are tired does not mean they can sleep. There can be a number of reasons why your child is not sleeping. But before you see a doctor or specialist, here are some natural remedies you can try to help your child get the sleep they need.


We have all had times when we look at our kids and think, I wish I had their energy! But having bursts of energy does not mean we don’t still need a good night’s sleep to be at our best. Sleep helps kids achieve health milestones. Lack of sleep can make even the littlest ones of us moody, easily agitated, and unfocused.

Sleep is even more important for children because their bodies do their best work during rest to help them rejuvenate, repair, and grow! So, when kiddos have interrupted or limited sleep, the results can be severe. It’s not just their bodies that are growing, so are their minds. They are learning how to regulate their emotions and behaviors, fueling their development, and adjusting to changes at home, school, and with friends. Children need good sleep to have a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Sleep issues can be anything from difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or both. And to make matters worse, a child who doesn’t sleep generally means parents and other siblings do not sleep either which can lead to disruptions to entire family dynamics. So, the result of lack of sleep can affect the entire family.

Parents can lay awake all-night alternating from feelings of guilt to frustration and even to helpless when it comes to these sleep challenges. They are often stressed out and constantly worried because they feel like they are doing everything they can for their child, but they just can’t figure out what is causing these sleep challenges which makes it that much more difficult to know how to address it.

We may not make the connection at first, but not getting the right amount and the right kind of sleep can also lead to digestive issues, immune system problems, difficulty with focusing and managing our behaviors, increased risk of obesity, anxiety, and depression as well as a number of other health concerns.


The first thing we think about after getting a good night’s sleep is feeling rested and energized. We all know that feeling of not getting good rest at night and waking up feeling groggy, grumpy, and still exhausted. And the more nights that this goes on, the worse we feel. Well, unfortunately that is how kids can feel too! And to make matters worse, proper rest is vital for a child’s proper growth and development.

Other positive effects of proper sleep for kids include:

  • Better growth hormone production
  • Healthy weight management
  • Improved protein production that helps fight germs and stress
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Improved ability to repair muscles


When children are sleeping, their bodies and brains are developing. But sleep is not just necessary for major changes, we can see the effects in day-to-day activities too.

These other effects include:

  • Memory and motor skills
  • Increased attention span and improved concentration
  • Vocabulary acquisition
  • Improved alertness
  • Cognitive reliance
  • Creative thinking and problem solving


When children are sleeping, their bodies and brains are developing. But sleep is not just necessary for major changes, we can see the effects in day-to-day activities too.

These other effects include:

  • Memory and motor skills
  • Increased attention span and improved concentration
  • Vocabulary acquisition
  • Improved alertness
  • Cognitive reliance
  • Creative thinking and problem solving

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There isn’t just one thing that can prevent children from going to sleep, staying asleep, or prevent them from getting enough sleep, so there isn’t just one solution to the problem. One of the most common things found in children with sleeping difficulties is an overactive sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic part of your nervous system is the part commonly called the “fight-or-flight” system. This is the part of your nervous system that is designed to engage in fact-acting and stressful situations and is designed as a protective response, and we cannot be in growth and protection at the same time. When a child’s nervous system is imbalanced, the most common presentation is the overactive sympathetic response which in turn results in an underactive or suppressed parasympathetic response. What this means for parents in terms of sleep is that it makes it difficult for kids to rest and recover.

There are so many things that can prevent your kiddo from sleeping. It can be anything from their environment, their health, their mood, and more. Here we will discuss some of the most common issues.

Too much stimulation. We all know how bad it can be to drink coffee too late in the day or scroll on our phones while lying in bed and it is the same for our children. Having caffeine or sugar too close to bed or nap time can interfere with sleep. And overuse of technology, even in our kiddos, can be a major cause of sleep issues.

Stress or anxiety. We know how stress and anxiety affects our sleep as adults. We can lay in bed at night thinking about a big project at work, planning for an upcoming vacation, or worrying about our loved ones. While the stressors may not be the same, children still deal with stress and anxiety. It could be over a test at school, a bully on the school yard, or a sleep over scheduled at a friend’s house this weekend. These issues can be even more common in children with ADHD or autism. Often the underlying reason for the anxiety and sleep challenges is a “stuck-on” sympathetic nervous system. This is why it can be important to address the nervous system directly when evaluating sleep issues.

Interrupted circadian rhythms. Think of your circadian rhythm as your internal clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. This helps up establish a routine which helps establish appropriate sleep-wake cycles and helps get the necessary sleep for our bodies to grow. Disruptions in this cycle can interrupt proper brain stimulation and brain development that have been known to be linked to learning and memory. While the nervous system also has a major role in this regulation, so does establishing a good sleep schedule and following it.

Sleeping or breathing disorders. Sleep and breathing disorders are not limited to adults. Children can also struggle with sleep apnea, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), and other conditions that interfere with their ability to sleep.

Lack of physical exercise. Remember those times you have taking your children to the zoo or the amusement park and how that night they slept so well? While 10 hours of walking at Disney World is not required to get a good night’s sleep, lack of physical exercises can definitely negatively affect the duration and quality of sleep. Regular exercise can help improve the quality and duration of sleep while also decrease the time it take to fall asleep. So, limit screen time, cut back on the video games, and get your children active!

Other underlying health issues. There are number of conditions from separation anxiety, asthma, respiratory problems, and digestive health challenges that have been linked to difficulty sleeping. Parent are struggling to find ways to treat these conditions naturally and avoid medications but are trying to address their effects on their child’s sleep.

Medication. In adults and children alike, medications can deprive you of the rest you need by interfering with deep REM sleep. Some of the leading medications that can cause trouble sleeping include decongestants, stimulant ADHD medications, and corticosteroids.


1. Get your child on a bedtime routine

The structure of a bedtime routine can be one of the best natural remedies for sleep for your child. Consistency is key and learning how to deal with push back and changes to these routines can be beneficial. You can try earlier bedtimes, helping your child self-soothe with a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, and rewarding positive behavior. If you are struggling with establishing a bedtime routine, a sleep coach trained to deal with these issues may be a great option.

2. Increase activity during the day

Get your kids moving! Exercising during the day can have a major impact on sleep, can help develop a routine, and can help establish that internal clock. As an added benefit, increased activity has a huge effect on your child’s overall health, so it is a win-win situation.

3. Stay away from caffeine and other stimulates

We all know we should limit the amount of caffeine our kids consume, and this is especially true around bedtime. And caffeine is not limited to soda and coffee. Don’t forget chocolate also contains caffeine and should be limited, especially before bed.

4. Chamomile teas and sleep foods

Not only has chamomile tea been shown to strengthen your immune system, but it has also been shown to be effective in increasing sleep. Once children get older, cherry juice can be a great alternative as it contains natural traces of melatonin which can help them sleep. Finding ways to incorporate magnesium into your children’s diet has also shown to be effective when it comes to sleep.

5. Avoid screen time

We have all been told to limit screen time before bed and know how lying in bed scrolling on our phones can be counterproductive to sleep. The blue light in our screens can actually activate certain parts of our brain and can directly interfere with our sleep cycles and lower our production of melatonin. While it generally is a good idea to limit screen time for children as a whole, it should definitely be limited at least 30 minutes before starting our bedtime routine.

6. Warm baths and relaxation 

You may be too young to get this reference but, “Calgon, take me away!”. This was a slogan from a bath powder commercial promoting the feeling a person gets when they have finally been taken away and forget their troubles… in a bubble bath.  When we are stressed and looking for a way to relax, a warm bath is often helpful in dealing with our stress and anxiety, and this can be true for our kids too. It can also be beneficial to use bath salts with lavender or magnesium to help promote sleep.

7. Design the best sleeping conditions

Children can be very susceptible to stimulation so making the place they sleep a relaxing and inviting space can make a big difference in how they sleep. Try creating a clean, cool, well-ventilated room with little light. Darker rooms will encourage the natural production of the sleep hormone melatonin. White noise can also be calming and help prevent them from being woken up by other stimuli outside of the room.


Every child is different so the signs to be looking for can be different but providing your child with the best environment, learning their behaviors, and communication can be key. But if you are concerned they are not getting enough sleep, here are some signs to look for to indicate they may need more sleep.


  • Taking frequent quick naps
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty getting them up in the morning
  • Having to wake them up multiple times to get them up and going
  • Having cravings for unhealthy stimulants such as caffeine or sugar


  • Hyperactivity
  • Struggling at school or when trying to learn new things
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of motivation
  • Forgetfulness


  • Irritability or impulsivity
  • Increased stress which can present as restlessness or fearful behavior
  • Clingy behavior
  • Difficulty talking or participating with others


If you have tried all the natural remedies, diet changes, and essential oils but you are still struggling, it is time to consult a Pediatric Chiropractor. Tension can build up in the nervous system and relieving that tension can make it easier to relax and sleep. They are trained to provide gentle but effective adjustments that will help reduce the stress on the body and interference within the nervous system that controls and regulates sleep.

Check out the chart below showing that improved emotional health and sleep are two of the biggest changes that patients report when seeing a neurologically focused chiropractor.


Trust your instincts! If you child is struggling with colic, night terrors, or bedwetting and it is interfering with their sleep, try scheduling an appointment with a neurologically based pediatric chiropractor. If the lack of sleep is interrupting their everyday life, causing emotional or behavioral issues, it can be worth having their nervous system checked to see how these issues may be related to interference in the nervous system. An inability to fall or stay asleep can be a sign that something might not be running normally within the body. A neurologically focused family chiropractor will conduct a detailed history and perform analyses that are designed to look deep into the nervous system to look for interference.  This can help identify any possible roadblock to your children sleeping and growing naturally!


Dr. Crystal Hogan, DC

Certified Wellness + Pediatric Chiropractor

About the Author

Dr. Crystal Hogan, DC has over 20 years or clinical experience working with patients of all ages. She has been certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association since 2002 and most recently completed her advanced certification with Life University Postgraduate Department in Neuro Tonal Pediatric and Family Analysis and Adjusting. She is the owner of The Hive Chiropractic Wellness Center, LLC in Irving, Texas where she specializes in pediatric, prenatal, and family chiropractic care.