How A Stress-Free Day Helps Your Kids At Night | Carson Tahoe Health

Make stress management a before-bed priority to help your child sleep soundly.

During the past year, excessive stress has become common for many families. As a parent, you may be facing worries related to work, health, and how to manage your child’s school instruction. Please know, you are not alone in your anxiety, as many parents across the nation (and world) are feeling the stresses of the last year fighting the pandemic. Chances are, if you are stressed, your child feels it as well, and as a result, their sleep may be suffering. 

According to the Nemours Foundation, stress experienced during the day can cause kids to have bad dreams as they snooze. These nightmares are how your child’s subconscious mind manages the pressure of stress in their life. 

If your child is also spending their free time reading spine-chilling stories, watching scary shows, seeing disturbing trailers, or consuming heavy news, they may be more likely to experience bad dreams. As a consequence of repeated nightmares, your child may be generally nervous about going to bed, resulting in insomnia. If these sleep disturbances are left unchecked, your child is more likely to be irritable the next day and have problems with concentration. Lack of sleep can also compromise your child’s development and immune system.

Recipe for a Restful Night

To help your child get the sleep they need, spend quality time with them every day. Let your child know that they can talk to you about anything that is causing them worry, including their nightmares. 

Some children find it helpful to rewrite nightmares with happy endings or draw scenes from bad dreams on paper and then rip that paper apart. This process can serve as a reminder that nightmares are in your head, not something that can hurt you. 

If your child’s nightmares persist, a counselor, child psychologist, or pediatrician can offer insight into factors that may be contributing to your child’s bad dreams and effective strategies to improve sleep.

To find a pediatrician at Carson Tahoe Health, visit or call (775) 445-8000.