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What Causes Insomnia in Teens and Children?

Insomnia is a type of sleep problem. Sadly, even children and teens can suffer from this condition. This means they will have trouble staying asleep or sleeping at night. They will also be more likely to wake up earlier than usual. 


There are two major forms of insomnia: short-term and long-term insomnia. Short-term or acute insomnia can last for several weeks or days. 

On the other hand, long-term insomnia occurs if your child or teen has a hard time sleeping at least thrice a week. This type of insomnia can last for one month or even longer. It is also known as chronic or persistent insomnia. 

The age of your child will determine the specific number of hours that a child should sleep for them to learn, concentrate, and play in their best condition. 

What Causes Insomnia in Kids and Teens?

Insomnia in teenagers and children is due to different causes, which include the following:

Bedtime Behaviour 

Excessive screen time before going to bed or not getting enough time for quiet and calm activities as part of the bedtime routine may make it more difficult for your child to sleep. 


Chocolate, cola, coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine that might result in sleep disturbance. 

Emotional Issues 

Anxiety, stress, and depression in teens and children are all emotional issues that might make it more challenging to sleep well at night

Environmental Factors 

A noisy or hot sleeping environment might make it impossible to fall asleep. 


Some illnesses, such as ear infections or colds, may make it more challenging to sleep well. 

Medical Conditions 

Restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea, and asthma are medical conditions that may affect sleep patterns. 

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Common Sleep Disorders in Kids & Teens Include Insomnia


Medicines that may make your child more alert can also impact their sleep. These include antidepressants and medicines to treat ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Sleep Associations 

Some kids may have difficulty sleeping without drinking a bottle of milk first. Some may also prefer music playing in the background or a parent beside them. 

Symptoms and Signs

A change in the sleeping behavior of a child, such as going to bed much later than you like, doesn’t automatically indicate a sleep problem. 

However, if you’re worried that your child is suffering from insomnia, here are some signs you should watch out for during bedtime:

  • Your child suddenly feels tired but is wide awake once they try to sleep. 
  • Your child makes excuses just to avoid sleeping. 
  • Your child gets out of bed and asks for things. 
  • Your child often wakes up in the middle of the night and finds it hard to return to sleep. 
  • Your child takes a long time to sleep. 

Meanwhile, the following are some signs of insomnia during day time:

  • Your child constantly feels tired or lacks energy during the day. 
  • Your child naps for a long time during the day or falls asleep at school.
  • Your child has different sleeping times every day.
  • Your child struggles to remember information or concentrate. 
  • Your child refuses to get out of bed or struggles to wake up in the morning.

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