Question: “My 3-year-old has always been a good sleeper, but now he gets up multiple times a night. Help!”
Answer: Don’t worry too much—it can be common at this age. Kids are wowed by the world around them and that, coupled with their incredible imaginations, can lead to some pretty scary thoughts and feelings. In turn, he may have trouble going to sleep or will start waking up several times a night to find comfort.
To help, try using his imagination for good. One way to do that: Make your own “monster spray” by mixing 1 or 2 ounces of water with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. Then, either spray it in the room yourself, or supervise your child doing it. Not only will it help “chase away the worries,” but lavender also has a calming, relaxing effect on the central nervous system.
Usually, this phase doesn’t last very long and hopefully he’ll be sleeping peacefully through the night again in no time. But take note if his waking is connected to snoring or breathing trouble at night—if so, it’s best to consult with his doctor to see if there is a problem related to his adenoids or tonsils.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., is the founder of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, one of the first green, integrative primary care practices in the U.S.
Have a question for Dr. Rosen? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.