Sleep Disorders In Children- Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Sleep disorders are known to be very common among children and are known as the early signs of sleep disorder and some of the early symptoms that can help you identify the problem are, behavioral problems, irritability, daytime sleepiness, difficulty in learning, motor vehicle crashes among teenagers and poor academic performance.

Around 50% of children experience sleep problems and about 4% have a formal sleeping disorder diagnosis and about 70 million people in the States are known to have sleep disorders. 

Sleep Disorders In Children- Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Sleep is known to be a commonly discussed topic while the well-child visits are on. A primary care physician needs to be known for normal childhood sleep patterns and sleep disorders that are common.

Sleep Disorders In Children- Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

If your child or children have issues with being academically bright, learning difficulty, behavioral issues, irritability, etc., sleep disorder should be considered. 

What are sleep disorders like? You often experience issues falling asleep. You feel tired often as the day goes on even though you must have slept for hours, before. An impaired ability to perform regular activities is known to be one of the detections. 

Types of Sleep Disorders-

1. Insomnia

2. Sleep Apnea

3. Restlessness Leg Syndrome

4. Narcolepsy

Normal Sleep Cycle a month Infants and Children-

As one’s body is asleep, it is considered as an opportunity for the body to conserve energy, store back its normal processes, increase physical growth and be a backbone to mental development. Daytime sleepiness is recognized as a consequence of insufficient sleep.

Sleep is known to change during the first few years of life and it takes some time to adjust the sleep cycle to one that shall benefit your body in the right ways. Newborns are known to need the greatest amount of total sleep time and have a fragmented sleep-wake pattern. 

At the age of 5 months, children are known to have the ability to sleep for longer periods, and around 6 months they can sleep without nighttime feelings. There indeed exists an important variation. On the other hand, infants who breastfeed have more frequent awakenings and smaller sleep cycles, which are known to be slightly shorter than the total sleep times. 

What Possibly Causes Sleep Disorders? Various factors can affect and cause sleep problems although the causes may differ, the result ultimately of all sleep disorders is that the body’s organic cycle of slumber and wakefulness in the daytime is disrupted. A few factors that cause the disorder are,

1. Ulcers- which is physical.

2. Asthma- which is medical

3. Anxiety disorders and depression- which is Psychiatric

4. Alcohol- which is Environmental

5. Biological Clocks- which is like working nightshifts

6. Narcolepsy- which is genetics

7. Sleep interference- which is medications

There are known to be quite a several symptoms for sleep disorders and they are such as falling asleep while driving, struggling to stay awake during an activity, having difficulty focusing or paying attention at work or school, facing issues with memory, constantly told by others that you look sleepy, slowed down responses, issues with emotion control, and the constant need of taking naps every day. 

How much necessary sleep is required by a body? As per experts a 7 to 9 hours per night, sleep is great although it can depend as some individuals might require more and some individuals may require lesser sleeping hours.

Recently a National Sleep Foundation Sleep In America Poll, found that adults aged 18-54 sleep for 6.4 hours every night over weekdays and 7.7 hours per night over weekends. The pool managed to show a downward slope in sleep time compared to the past several years. People who tend to use the internet at night or those who bring their work from the office, home, sleep lesser hours. 

It was also reported by the National Sleep Foundation that older adults, aged 55-84, sleep on an average of 7 hours on the weekdays and 7.1 hours over the weekends. It has also been seen that sleep is most often disturbed by the need to urinate and physical pain or in the case of older adults, discomfort. 

The optimal sleep time is known to vary by time and age. It was noticed that consuming caffeine is almost like losing three to five hours of sleep. Having a television in the bedroom has also been seen contributing to the loss of at least, 2 hours each week, especially in children. 

How can one Cure Sleeping Disorders? 

If you feel like you are diagnosed with a sleeping disorder, you must consider discussing it with your health care doctor as he or she will consider performing a physical exam and that shall help identify the problems you are facing regarding sleep. A ‘sleep diary’ for around two weeks can also be helpful to your doctor as few illnesses can cause disturbed sleep and your healthcare provider can order tests to rule out various other conditions. 

In case your doctor mentions that you have a sleeping disorder, he or she might recommend you to a sleep disorder clinic. Somebody known as a sleep specialist shall review your symptoms and shall suggest you undergo a sleep study. 

A Polysomnogram or PSG is a test that is electronically transmitted and records physical activities, during sleep. The sleep study can also be conducted at home for selected concerned patients. 

It is important to pay immense attention to your sleep disorder and sleeping habits by having a sleep diary recording your sleep issues to discuss with your doctor. 

How can one’s sleep disorders be treated?

Sleep disorders can be treated by:

1. Counseling

2. Medications

3. Sleep hygiene

4. Regular exercise

5. Reduced noise

6. Minimum Light

7. Temperature Management

It is most importantly said that a good sleep cycle can help you grow in life as it helps your immune system, your oxygen intake, and exhale, sleep can also help you focus deeply and meditation becomes easy too. Without sleep, people can face immense conditions like depression, apnea, issues with memory, etc. making the person half dead. Sleep is also known as one of the most vital parts of a healthy lifestyle. 

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