Child Sleep Disorders
Help overcome your child's sleep disorders
Children need to get adequate amounts of rest in order to function at maximum efficiency. But those who suffer from child sleep disorders commonly have erratic patterns of rest and usually find it difficult to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Lack of sleep can interfere with a child's health and can cause them to be tired all the time. Child sleep problems can also cause clumsiness, poor school performance, a lowered immune system, mood swings, crankiness, and hindered growth and development. Some of the most common sleep disorders that affect children are insomnia, nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking.
Insomnia causes youngsters to be restless, have difficulty falling asleep and wake up frequently during the night. Common reasons for child insomnia include:
- Too much stimulation in the room (television, computers, video games, etc.)
- Being overscheduled
- Going to bed too late
- High levels of stress
- Consuming too much caffeine
- Asthma or other breathing problems
- Side effects of medications
Child Night Terrors
Night terrors are most common in preschool-aged boys and they usually occur shortly after kids have fallen asleep. Child night terrors can cause children to bolt upright with their eyes wide open and scream loudly during the night.
A child experiencing night terrors will appear to be awake, but even though their eyes are open, they're actually asleep. They will be confused and unresponsive to your attempts to wake them. When the child finally awakens, they won't have any recollection of their night terror experience.
Every child has scary dreams from time-to-time. Unlike night terrors, a child can usually recall what his or her nightmare was about. Nightmares can be triggered by stress, recent events, television programs, being overtired or a creative imagination.
Sleepwalking is a disorder that causes children to walk and wander around while they're still asleep. This disorder is more prevalent in children (especially boys) between the ages of 6 and 12. If kids suffer from frequent episodes of sleepwalking, parents need to create a safe environment for their child to sleep by doing the following:
- Removing any potential hazards from the child's sleeping area
- Locking the child's bedroom window
- Putting an alarm on the child's bedroom door
- Avoid placing your child's bedroom on the upper level of the home
Getting enough sleep is an important element in child health. If you suspect your child suffers from any type of child sleep disorder, contact their pediatrician immediately.