Understanding Sleep Disorders in Children
Although sleep disorders are fairly common among infants and children, when left untreated, they pose an issue to a child’s overall social and behavioral development. The less sleep your child experiences, the more behavioral issues they have during the day. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that more than two out of every three children ages 10 and under have experienced some type of sleep problem.
When not properly treated, it can negatively impact a child’s behavior and development at home, school, and in their social life. Poor school work is common and in some cases, children can develop depression and anxiety disorders when they do not get the right amount of sleep. Below is information regarding sleep disorders in children, symptoms, and treatments.
What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are defined as the obstruction of or abnormality in sleeping patterns. WebMD classifies childhood sleep disorders into two categories, dyssomnias, and parasomnias.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Limit-Setting sleep disorder
- Sleep-onset difficulties
- Insufficient sleep syndrome and inadequate sleep hygiene
- Night terrors
- Headbanging or rocking
According to a recent study, most parents do not report significant sleep concerns to their pediatricians. Sleep disorders can come in various forms and as a parent, the sooner you recognize the issue and create a treatment plan with your healthcare professional, the sooner the issue can be resolved.
What are signs of sleep disorders in children?
Common symptoms of sleep disorders in children include:
- Excessive snoring
- Bedwetting (ages 6 and older)
- Nighttime arousals
- Difficulty initiating sleep
- Difficulty maintaining sleep
- Decline in school performance
- Sleep paralysis
- Daytime sleepiness and drowsiness
Sleep disorders can come in various forms and if they persist for more than 4 weeks, parents should make an appointment with their pediatrician. They can offer treatments to resolve the issue and help your child gain better sleeping habits.
What are treatment options for sleep disorders in children?
Often times, a sleep study may be recommended to see where the issue is stemming from. Especially if your child suffers from OSA or has excessive daytime sleepiness, the sleep study can diagnose specific sleep disorders and help create an individual plan that may include specific therapy or appointment with a specialist.
Another treatment option when it comes to sleep disorders is counseling. Sometimes emotional stress/anxiety can be the underlying factor when it comes to problems with sleep and counseling from a behavioral health professional can help your child create positive behaviors. Behavior modification plans can also help address some sleep disorders.
At Well Street, we believe it is important for your child to receive help from a behavioral health care professional as soon as you suspect your child is suffering from sleep disorders. Early identification and treatment can make a world of difference for your child and for your family—today and in the long-term.