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Common Sleep Disorders With Children

Common Sleep Disorders With Children

Sleep disorders in children are conditions that keep your child awake or disrupt their sleep. Sleeping disorders can be caused by medical conditions, changes in the child's behavior or poor sleeping conditions. Continuous lack of sleep can have a long-term impact on your child's health. This article explores five common sleep disorders in children. But before we jump right in, let's take a look at signs that your child might have a sleep disorder.

Signs Your Child Has a Sleep Disorder

Identifying sleep disorders in children is the first step toward addressing the problem. If your child gets fewer than nine hours of sleep daily, that might be a cause for concern. In fact, infants should get between 12 and 16 hours of sleep every day. Other signs to look for are irritability, stress and mood swings.

Each sleep disorder presents unique signs. In addition, parents should also evaluate their child's sleeping environment to gain a complete at the quality of their sleep. The following are five common types of sleep disorders in children.

Five Common Sleep Disorders in Children

  1. Sleep Apnea
    Caused by an obstruction in the airway or a problem with the brain's control of breathing, sleep apnea forces a child's breathing to pause and repeatedly start during sleep. Snoring is a common indication of sleep apnea. If your child experiences gasping or choking while sleeping, it may also indicate sleep apnea.
  2. Insomnia
    If your child has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, they might have insomnia. Often, insomnia is caused by stress and anxiety. You may notice your child waking up frequently during the night and feeling tired during the day. Creating a quiet and calm environment can help your child relax and fall asleep if they are experiencing insomnia.
  3. Restless Leg Syndrome
    Most children with restless leg syndrome feel an uncomfortable, itchy sensation in the legs. They may feel an uncontrollable urge to move their legs as well as leg discomfort or pain and difficulty falling asleep. This condition can be relieved by taking walks or massaging your child's feet. It can be caused by iron deficiency, kidney failure or genetics.
  4. Narcolepsy
    If your child sleeps excessively during the day, it might be a sign of narcolepsy. Children who sleep during the day may find it difficult to fall asleep at a normal bedtime. Often, children with narcolepsy experience a sudden loss of muscle tone and may have vivid dreams or hallucinations, making it more difficult to sleep at night.
  5. Parasomnias
    These are abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep. Your child might experience nightmares, sleepwalking and sleep-talking. Parasomnias are most common in children with stress, anxiety or sleep deprivation. Bed-wetting is another manifestation that various factors such as genetics, bladder capacity and hormone imbalances can cause.

Treatment and Management of Common Sleep Disorders With Children

You can improve your child's sleeping experience in various ways. One standard solution is to enhance your child's sleeping environment. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine and limiting activities before bedtime can help your child calm down, relax and fall asleep faster.

If left untreated, sleep disorders can significantly impact your child's physical, emotional and cognitive development. If you suspect that your child has a sleep disorder, please make an appointment with a sleep-medicine professional for help.