The sleeping habits of gifted children are often a concern for parents, especially when children don’t seem to sleep as much as their same age peers. It’s important to determine whether your child’s sleeping habits are different from the norm because they are suffering from anxiety, stress or for some other reason – or if it’s just because of their wiring! Research relating to the sleeping patterns of gifted kids is mixed. However, it is not unusual for gifted children to need significantly less sleep than other kids their age – even from infancy. If you have, or had, an unusually alert baby then you may wish to check out this article which explains the early signs of giftedness in order to gain an understanding of this.

If you have an unusually creative or sensitive gifted child it is also possible that their busy brain and inability to wind down may be causing them difficulty with falling asleep! If this sounds like your child then click here for a comprehensive examination of how and why this happens – including how it may relate to fear of the unknown and even concerns relating to death. Gifted kids are renowned for ruminating on everything and anything, especially that which they find difficult to understand and matters of an existential nature!

It is also worth noting that sometimes professionals who are not well versed in the characteristics of gifted children (and adults) may view these sleep habits as so abnormal that a diagnosis of pathology may be explored. If your gifted child is causing you to stress about whether something other than giftedness is the reason for their unusual sleep patterns then you may like to read this article.

And if you’d like some help to better understand why gifted children may not be sleeping as much as you would like them to then it’s worth reading this :) .

If you have determined that your child is well other than struggling to switch off at bedtime then there are some things you can try. It sounds obvious, but with so much time spent indoors on computers, getting outside enough is definitely an issue for lots of kids. The more physical activity the child does during the day will help to slow their brain down, even if only a little. Fresh air and exercise every day will definitely help to tire out little bodies, hopefully winning the battle against an over-active mind! Also, getting them to write down any concerns they may have in a journal can help kids get the busy out of their head and onto the page and this can allow them to relax. If your child is too young to write or isn’t a fan of writing then they could record all of the ‘busy’ on a voice recorder on a phone or tablet. Other things that may help gifted children to calm down at night include meditation, and this really does work very well, allowing them to take control of a mind that likes to race at a million miles an hour! Check out your local library or look online for resources on different kinds of meditation. There are also apps available as well as books and cds aimed specifically at kids. Amy Hamilton’s ‘Indigo Dreaming’ is wonderful for younger children. As children get older you can teach them techniques to still their mind or perform  guided meditations together until they learn how to do this themselves. Other things that may help include a warm bath with lavender oil, and/or buying or making a ‘sleep spray’ – if your little one has an over-active imagination and is scared of monsters then why not make your own label and stick it on the bottle so it can also serve as a monster repellant to ‘scare away’ whatever they are scared of? Gifted kids are smart but children with over-active imaginations can respond well and feel more in control if they have some kind of ritual to perform before bed. A routine can really help them to feel calm. Other things that are worth trying include kids’ yoga, an aromatherapy masssage before bed, calming music and audio books.

If you’re worried about your child’s sleeping habits it’s possible that you may be adding to their anxiety about how much sleep they should be getting, thus fuelling any insomnia. The less you worry, the less your child will worry and the more likely they will be to get a good night’s rest. Many gifted children are extraordinarily perceptive and will take all of your concerns on board, and this may exacerbate the problem when they may not actually need quite as much sleep as you may think. If nothing else, just try and ensure that your child is resting, and if that involves just lying and reading until their eyes close then so be it! There are a lot of gifted adults out there who used to spend many a night hiding under the covers reading by torchlight!

However, if you are concerned that the root of your child’s insomnia is due to anxiety, depression or some other stressor then please check out the page on this.

Sweet dreams! :)