Can Children Suffer from Irregular Sleep?
According to Stanford Health Care, children can suffer from sleep irregularities as there is no age bar from when these issues can develop. For school-going children, the sleep-related issues can be associated with behavioral disorders, development aspects, social challenges, and other issues related to weight, or existing health conditions. Pediatricians believe that the manifestation of sleep disorders in children is pretty much the same as in adults - difficulty in falling asleep, difficulty in staying asleep, waking up multiple times and unable to fall asleep again, excessive snoring (sleep apnea), difficulty in breathing while sleeping, sleepwalking, etc.
However, the underlying causes of such sleep disorders are much different from adults. So, let us look at how to identify if your child is suffering from sleep problems and what can you do about it for a timely intervention.
Common Sleep Disorders in Children
Sleep disorders can be minor that requires a change in diet and lifestyle or in some cases, can also require a detailed sleep study to understand the quality and architecture of sleep to identify and treat the disorders. In this regard, some common sleep disorders in children are:
- Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Arousal
- Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome
- Nighttime Sleep Syndrome
Signs that Your Child Might be Sleeping Poorly
Children below the age of two years require as much as fourteen hours of sleep. Whereas, school-going children require at least twelve hours of sleep every night. This allows them to fully develop and stay healthy. However, when children suffer from sleep disturbance, they may not always be able to articulate it well. Hence, as parents, you need to maintain a good record of their sleeping habits to identify any abnormalities early on. This allows you to provide timely intervention so the sleep problems do not manifest into bigger health issues as they grow up.
Early Warning Signs That Indicate Childhood Insomnia
- Evident reduction in daytime energy and performance;
- Unexplainable mood swings, crankiness, and irritability;
- Your child wakes up every ninety minutes every night;
- They make excuses to make you stay with them in bed for hours;
- An unusual number of nightmares;
- Unable to concentrate in school and poor marks;
- They tend to zone out when you are talking to them or unable to follow your conversation.
If you observe these signs for a long duration of time (weeks or months), it is best advised to consult your pediatrician to identify the root cause of the problem. If you are able to treat it in time, your child can then enjoy the required amount of sleep every night. This also aids in the holistic development of the mind and the body.