Sleep Disorder in Children

Occasionally, it can take kids a little while to calm down before bed. However, if your child appears to have a lot of trouble sleeping, it could be a sleep disorder.

Any of these scenarios can be an indication of a likely sleep disorder:

  • Your child complains of itchy legs at night
  • Your child lies in bed, yelling for another story, song, drink, or to visit the bathroom, for hours
  • Your child snores loudly
  • Your kid only sleeps for approximately 90 minutes at a time, even at night

Here is how to identify the signs of a sleep disorder and when you should look for help for your child.

How kids sleep

0–3 months

For your little one, sleep is essential for growth and development, so is food and interacting with guardians. That’s why newborns wake to eat, stare at your face or observe what’s going on around them, and then go back to sleep.

3–12 months

By six months, a lot of babies will sleep during the night, preferring to remain awake for more extended periods throughout the day. As their first birthday approaches, babies are prone to sleep more at night with one or two naps throughout the day.

After the first birthday

During this period, children tend to take a long nap during the day rather than two shorter naps. By the preschool years, several children start weaning off their naps completely.

Disturbances during sleep

At about every stage of development, a baby’s transforming body and mind could be making them have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Your baby might experience separation anxiety and wish to cuddle in the dead of night. They may be memorizing words and wake with a mind rushing to say the name of all the things in the crib. Also, the desire to stretch their arms and legs could keep them up at night.

Other sleep disruptions can be caused by an incredibly exciting or exhausting day that leaves your baby too jittery to sleep soundly. Drinks and foods that contain caffeine might make it hard for your child to fall asleep or stay asleep.

New environments or significant changes to the routine may also be a factor. Few sleep disruptions are prompted by allergies, illness, or conditions such as sleep apnea, night terrors, sleepwalking, or restless leg syndrome.

Sleep disorders and their signs

If your child’s birthday is approaching and they can’t stop talking about it, that is a good indication that the tension is more than they can handle.

Also, a nap-free day expended playing could make your child too weak to fall asleep or remain asleep. These are temporary disturbances that you can make some adjustment to.

If your baby gets up during the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep until you cuddle or rock them, even as they get closer to 6 months of their age.

This suggests that your child has likely not discovered how to self-soothe during the night. Self-soothing occurs when kids know how to calm themselves instead of depending on someone else. Educating your child on how to self-soothe isn’t the same as telling your child to “cry it out.”

Sleep disorder includes the following:

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is alarming because your child often finds it difficult to breathe for periods of 10 seconds or more when sleeping. In most cases, your kid won’t have any idea that anything is happening.

You might also notice that your child sleeps with their mouth open, snores loudly, and feels very tired throughout the day. If you find out that this is happening to your child, kindly see your doctor as soon as possible.

Sleep apnea can cause learning and behaviour problems and even heart issues. Ensure that you seek help if you find your child having these signs.

Restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) was believed to be an adult condition, but research demonstrates that it occasionally begins in childhood.

Your child might complain of the feeling of having a bug crawling on them, or they often shift positions in bed to find some solace. A handful of children do not actually notice that they are uncomfortable, but they suffer from poor sleep due to RLS.

There are several therapies for RLS, though a lot of them haven’t been reviewed well in children. In adults, these involve taking both vitamin supplements and medication. However, it would be better if you discuss with your doctor about what is suitable for you.

Night terrors

Having night terrors are more than just having a nightmare. They can terrify everyone in the family. Night terrors are more widespread in children than in adults, and they can make a person wake up unexpectedly from sleep appearing intensely frightened or agitated and usually crying, or yelling. Sometimes it causes them sleepwalking; usually, they are not fully awake, and most kids don’t even remember the incident.

Generally, night terrors occur during non-REM sleep about 90 minutes after the child goes to sleep. There isn’t any treatment for night terrors. Still, you can help reduce the probability of it happening by sticking to a sleep plan and ensuring nighttime disturbances are as minimum as possible.

Sleep is vital for human beings, particularly for the little ones that require adequate, good-quality sleep to help them develop, learn, and function. If you can detect a sleep disorder early and make the necessary adjustments, or get some advice or treatment, you will be doing your child a big favour.