Understanding 5 Common Pediatric Sleep Disorders

Understanding 5 Common Pediatric Sleep Disorders

Sleeping is important to your health, and for children it affects a variety of things, such as germ-fighting ability, mood, alertness, and even their body’s growth. While the amount of needed rest varies, generally children aged 5-12 need 9-12 hours of sleep per night — but many don’t get enough.

Lack of proper rest can lead to many problems during the day, such as fatigue, lack of focus, and mood changes, and this can be due to a number of different pediatric sleeping disorders. Let’s try to get a better understanding of these conditions by examining the reasons children have trouble sleeping, and looking at some common sleep disorders.

Residents of the Glendale, Arizona area with children suffering from sleeping problems can get help with Drs. Sarah and Vinod Patel and the experienced team at Sonoran Sleep Center.

Reasons children have trouble sleeping

The reasons for sleeping issues may depend on how old your child is. Younger children tend to deal with some issues that become less common as we age, like bedtime stalling, ignoring cues of tiredness, bad dreams, and being overtired. 

Older children may start to deal with stress-related reasons for not sleeping well, or with sleep cycle changes as they mature into teens. 

But many children, regardless of age, may have trouble sleeping due to medications, allergies, asthma, and snoring.

Common sleep disorders in children

Here are some sleep-related illnesses your child may be dealing with:

1. Childhood insomnia

Also referred to as bedtime resistance and more common in younger children, this happens when children don’t go to bed on time unless forced to by a parent or guardian. If it isn’t enforced, they may end up staying awake for hours longer than they should, which affects how they function the next day. 

This condition often involves behavioral problems, and may present with the child looking for distractions from going to bed.

2. Delayed sleep phase syndrome

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s sleep/wake cycle, and children dealing with delayed sleep phase syndrome are off, which causes them to fall asleep and wake up later. This can lead to numerous problems with their daily routine, affecting school, alertness, and physical activity.

3. Hypersomnia

This is the term for excessive sleeping, and is itself generally a symptom of other conditions. This is often the result of not getting enough uninterrupted sleep, but can be due to a medical condition, medications, or a psychiatric disorder.

4. Parasomnias

This is the term for a group of sleep-related disorders that may cause abnormal movements, talking, emotional responses, and other actions that may give the illusion of being awake. This includes sleepwalking, night terrors, sleep-related eating, and sleep paralysis. Parasomnia can result from lack of proper rest, medical conditions, and certain medications.

5. Sleep apnea

This illness causes your child to stop and start breathing repeatedly as they sleep, which can lead to snoring, dry mouth, headache, and not getting enough rest. 

There are three different types of sleep apnea, and the cause will vary depending on what type you’re dealing with. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in children, and can be caused by weight problems, a narrow airway, and some medical conditions.

As many as 50 percent of children will deal with some form of sleep disorder, but many of them will decrease over the course of adolescence. Management of many of these conditions consists of better sleep hygiene, the use of some medications, and establishing a better sleep/wake schedule.

So, if your child is dealing with any of these or other sleeping problems, make an appointment with the Drs. Patel and the team at Sonoran Sleep Center today to get help.

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