We normally think of insomnia in adults. The fact is, this disorder can affect children as well, and it has many of the same negative effects in children as in adults. There are some signs, so keep reading to find out: could my child have a sleep disorder?
The Importance Of Sleep
Sufficient restful sleep has several purposes: to conserve energy, support mental development, promote physical growth, and restore normal processes. You might be surprised to find out up to 50% of children will suffer with sleep disorders at some point.
Lack of sleep in children can result in a host of issues in childhood and into adulthood. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one quarter of children under the age of five don’t get enough sleep.
Poor sleep in early childhood has been linked to the following issues into adulthood:
- Problems with the immune system
- Anxiety and depression
- Poor academic performance
- Cardiovascular risks later in life including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure
School-age children with sleep disorders suffer from daytime sleepiness, problems with learning and memory, vocabulary development, alertness and attention, cognitive performance, and irritability.
Signs Of A Childhood Sleep Disorder
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is common in adults, but children can have this condition too. You will notice your child snoring at times due to an obstructed airway. There will be moments during the night where a child will stop breathing.
Many times the obstruction is due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which seems to occur between 2 and 8 years old. Removing those two small organs can correct the issue.
Talk with Genesis Pediatrics in Rochester, NY about options.
Parasominas is a condition where night terrors, sleepwalking, and talking, plus nightmares are common. Your child may be confused when awakened and fall back to sleep quickly with no memory of what happened. This typically occurs in the early hours of sleep.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome can also happen with children. This makes your child feel restless just when they are about to fall asleep. They may describe the feeling as tingling in their legs or their feet feel too hot or too cold.
Behavioral insomnia will cause your child to find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. They require (want) certain conditions to fall asleep, like being rocked to sleep. This can be overcome by creating a consistent sleep routine and changing the conditions.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
Delayed sleep phase disorder occurs when your child’s circadian clock is backwards. If this is happening, parents need to “reset” their clock by providing certain prompts. Be sure the room is dark when it’s time to sleep to induce melatonin. This disorder can also affect wake up times. Using light, or lack thereof, can help to change their sleep patterns.
Contact Genesis Pediatrics at (585) 426-4100 if you are having difficulty with your child’s sleep patterns, and you suspect a sleep disorder.