Does My Child Have a Sleep Disorder?

When a child has a sleep disorder, it can be much more serious than he or she just being tired all day. Researchers believe that when children don’t get as much sleep as they need, they don’t develop physically, cognitively, emotionally, or socially as they should. Here are some things you should know about childhood sleep disorders.

  • Children, just like adults, can have obstructive sleep apnea. However, whereas most adults with this condition are obese, children with this condition are not always overweight. In children, the most common cause of OSA is enlargement of the adenoids and tonsils.
  • There are other symptoms of child sleep disorders beyond just sleepiness during the day. A school-aged child who has a sleep disorder may be irritable, inattentive, or exhibit oppositional behavior.
  • Estimates are that as many as 30-50% of children have a sleep problem.
  • Even babies and toddlers can have sleep disorders.
  • It is very common for children with autism to have sleep problems. One study found that nearly 80% of preschoolers with autism have disrupted sleep. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can make autism features, such as poor social skills, worse.
  • There are a variety of ways your child’s doctor may treat your child, including a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or an alternative to CPAP, medication, or cognitive behavioral therapy (for insomnia).
  • If you have a family history of sleep disorders, you should let your child’s doctor know. Some studies have shown that this is a hereditary issue.
  • If you think your child has a sleep disorder, you may want to start keeping a “sleep diary” to share with his or her doctor. Include items such as how much sleep your child gets each night, how often they wake up, and any stress or changes in the home that may be upsetting your child.

If your child is having trouble sleeping, it is not only stressful for them and for you, it can also lead to more serious problems. Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich, CT can help diagnose and treat your child so that you all can sleep better! Call 203-653-3519 for an appointment today.

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