What Are Three Common Sleep Problems in Early Childhood?
Your child’s sleep is important to their overall health and well-being. Talk to our team of leading healthcare providers today at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders about sleeping disorders. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
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Sleep is an essential part of our overall health and well-being as it allows our bodies the chance to heal and repair. Health reports are showing that many children are suffering from chronic sleep deprivation in the US, which is a very concerning trend. There can be several reasons for a child not sleeping well at night, much like adults. There are two major classifications of sleep problems called dyssomnias and parasomnias. In the case of children’s sleep problems, dyssomnias can include sleep-onset difficulties, limit-setting sleep disorder, inadequate sleep hygiene, insufficient sleep syndrome and snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Common parasomnias for children include sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares and rhythmic movement disorders which includes rocking or head banging. Insomnia is another cause of sleep problem that can include difficulty falling asleep, once asleep having difficulty staying asleep and potentially waking up early in the morning. Insomnia in children can be triggered by sleep anxiety, pain, daily or chronic stress or mental health issues. For children, insomnia can affect their sleep for a few nights or can last several weeks. Teeth grinding and bedwetting are additional sleep behaviours that can cause children to not sleep at night or not reach a deep level of sleep.
Kids have many reasons for fighting sleep, which can cause frustration for parents who know they have a tired child on their hands. One of the main reason’s kids fight sleep is due to over-tiredness. This can seem completely backwards as you would think that an overtired kid would want and need to go to sleep. However, with kids, the body essentially goes into fight or flight mode and releases cortisol and adrenaline into the child’s system, which makes it hard for them to fall asleep and then makes it hard for them to stay asleep. When kids become overtired it can take a few hours to get them to go to bed in the first place and from there, the kid may wake up several times once they are in bed. Overtiredness can be detected in kids as they may present some symptoms when they have reached that stage. Symptoms of overtiredness can include large yawning, agitation, stretching of the limbs, clenching their fists, intense rubbing of the eyes, wanting to cuddle or wanting to relax and watch television. Other kids may have the opposite reaction and become hyper and loud, they may be silly and entertaining, or they may become clumsy. The goal would be to get the child into bed before they start exhibiting symptoms of overtiredness in order to catch them before the adrenaline kicks in, which will give them a second wind.
Children can have problems sleeping for one of several reasons. While some may not be a cause for concern, such as they are excited for an upcoming event like a birthday party, other reasons could be early indicators of health concerns either now or that can develop later in life. Sleep apnea is a condition that is common in adults but can also affect children. This causes children to stop breathing in their sleep for up to 10 seconds at a time. Symptoms can include loud snoring, having their mouth open while they sleep and seeming to be overly tired during the day. Sleep apnea can cause behaviour and learning issues in children and can even lead to heart problems, so medical care should be sought out. Restless leg syndrome has been discovered to also affect children. They may complain that it feels as if a bug is crawling on their legs, or they may not be able to lay still and often switch positions. Your doctor can help you find the cause and a treatment. Night terrors are more common in children, although they can affect adults as well. These cause people to abruptly get up, appearing to be scared or agitated. They are also often yelling or crying, and in some cases can be sleepwalking. While there is no treatment, there are things that can be done to help alleviate the likelihood of them happening such as following a sleep schedule and minimizing disturbances before bed. If your child is experiencing a sleep disorder, reach out to our team of leading healthcare professionals today at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders. We care about your family’s health, and we have a number of locations across the USA.