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Sleep Disorders

Sleep is essential for physical health and emotional wellbeing. Everyone experiences occasional sleeping problems, but if your child repeatedly experiences problems sleeping, it could indicate an underlying health problem. Sleep disorders are problems associated with sleeping, including difficulty falling or staying asleep through the night, feeling sleepy during the day, snoring, breathing pauses while sleeping, sleepwalking, nightmares or waking up feeling exhausted. Because of lack of sleep, your child may find it difficult to concentrate and perform activities of daily living. This lack of sleep can lead to problems in mood, learning and behavior, or other health problems.

Some of the common types of sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder characterized by disruptive sleep cycles – difficulty falling asleep or staying a sleep.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing occasionally stops or gets very shallow during sleep.
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): Restless legs syndrome is a disorder characterized by a tingling or prickly sensation in the legs and an urge or need to move the legs.
  • Parasomnias: This refers to abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep. Parasomnias include nightmares, night terrors, sleep walking, and sleep talking, head banging, wetting the bed and grinding teeth.

Treatment

Treatment for sleep problems in children may involve:

  • Establishing a fixed bedtime routine.
  • Identify stressors or anxiety that is keeping your child up at nights and causing parasomic symptoms
  • Treat chronic nasal congestion with antibiotics and nasal sprays.
  • Removal of large adenoids and tonsils.

Your child will usually outgrow most parasomnias, but if they don’t, please consult with a doctor.

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