The Parasite Affecting Sleep


It’s not a very fancy topic of conversation but one that certainly needs be considered if you have a child who is having sleep difficulties. Believe it or not, the subject of worms and how they affect sleep isn’t really simple or straight forward. But I will do my best to keep this simple.


The main point around pinworms is that they are nocturnal and it is their heightened activity at night which causes itchiness, discomfort and restlessness. For obvious reasons, this further leads to disrupted sleep and reduction in sleep quality.


Other signs and symptoms of a pinworm infection are:

  • Insomnia

  • Restless sleep

  • Waking around 3-4am

  • Scratching their bottom

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

  • Reduced appetite

  • Irritability and behaviours changes

  • Bedwetting or frequent urination

  • Anxiety

  • Abdominal pain


It is believed that pinworms are most active around 3-4am and the presence of pinworms triggers the immune system which leads to a spike in cortisol.


Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is another significant presentation in children who have a pinworm infection. It is believed that this occurs due to anxiety and restlessness caused by the toxins and waste released by the parasites into the child’s body.


Considering the poor sleep quality from the disruptions worms bring at night, there is no wonder that children will end up irritable and grumpy.


If you really think about it, it sounds awful! But the good news is they are treatable and actually occur in around 50% of children.


It’s hard to know if worms are a true issue for your child and although there are common practices recommended by health care professionals to check the surety, if you are concerned, it is best for you to seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist.



Treatment of pinworms is simple enough and can usually be managed by an over-the-counter medicine. Although to bring complete success, as part of your treatment plan, you will need to wash:

  • all bedding

  • all towels

  • pyjamas

  • cups and bottles

  • under your child’s nails

It is also recommended that you treat every single family member, whether or not any other member of the family is presenting with symptoms of worms. This is because worms are spread extremely easily from person to person so it’s imperative that you address all aspects of the spread of pinworms.


For a thorough treatment, consulting with a child Naturopath may be most beneficial to ensure that you adequately rid of the pinworms completely. I refer my clients to Ashlee Yates at Nurtures Children’s Health for any natural remedies.

If your child has worms, don’t worry! It’s truly harmless and is easily treated.


Shereen Nielsen



My name is Shereen Nielsen and I am a certified infant and child sleep coach and Birth and Postpartum Doula. I am also a lecturer and mentor for students on their journey towards becoming a Sleep Consultant, through my on-line internationally recognised sleep consultants course.

If you would like more information about my services please contact me:


Phone: +61419820474

Email: shereen@maternalnurtures.com

Website: www.maternalnurtures.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maternalnurtures.shereennielsen

Instagram: www.instagram.com/maternalnurtures

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