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Children need a required minimum amount of sleep for the repair and healing of the body. At some point most children undergo a phase of difficulty in falling asleep but this situation is temporary without any permanent effect. However, there are some children who do have a type of sleep disorder that significantly affects their general well-being and functions.
Independent studies conclude that children with sleep disorders are more likely to have anxiety disorder, depression and behavioral problems. For school-age children, low grades and general lackluster performance in school are likely.
Sleep Disturbance Prevalence
Chronic sleep deprivation in children is a worldwide concern. Based on a study done by the U.S. National Sleep Foundation (NSF) concluded that two children out of three below 10 years old suffer from a type of sleep disorder and are chronically depressed. Surveys conducted by separate groups found out that more than 25% of children aged 1 to 5 suffer from a type of sleep disturbance some of which are nightmares, sleep walking, sleep talking, night terrors, bruxism, sleep rocking and enuresis. The same survey indicated that sleep disorders are most likely to persist from infancy until later childhood.
Categories of Sleep Disorders
There are two physiological categories of sleep disorders in children: dyssomnias and parasomnias. Where dyssomnias pertain to a sleep disorder in which a patient has difficulty falling and maintaining restful sleep. Parasomnias have something to do with the amount and quality of sleep including: narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness, and obstructive sleep apnoea, where the upper airway is obstructed during sleep causing the child to constant awakening during sleep;
On the other hand, there are environmentally-influenced sleep disorders and they are:
Parasomnias is another type of sleep disorder that pertains to disrupted sleep after it has been initiated. A type of parasomnias partially wakes or wakes up a child due to an event that happens during sleep. The complaint is not on its effect on sleeping or wakefulness but more on the “disturbance. Parasomnias include:
more common in children less than 5 years old
Treatment for Sleep Disorders for Children
The common signs that a child is having sleep problems are:
It is best to see a pediatrician if your child exhibits any of the following signs of sleep problem. Most of these sleep disorders resolve on its own when a child reaches puberty. However, if they do not, some sleep disorders can be treated by behavioral therapy. If your child’s lack of sleep is due to obstructive sleep apnoea, CPAP therapy is the answer.