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Sleep Disorders in Children

Children’s sleep disorders symptoms are not the same with the  symptoms of adults. It is very important for the children’s parents and/or caregivers to know and identify different symptoms that their children can exhibit. Sleep disorders in children can have negative effects to their overall health. And not to mention how these disorders can affect their performance in doing school works, extracurricular activities, and even in social relationships with classmates and friends. Children should at least get 9 hours of sleep per night, for proper growth and development to take place.

Common Sleep Disorders in Children

Sleep Disorders in Children

Children can suffer and experience all types of sleep disorders, however, there are a few certain types that children commonly suffer from, these include:

  1. Nightmares – just like adults, nightmares in children occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. Nightmares may be frightening to some children, causing them to wake up and call for their parents. Usually, 4 to 5 nightmares occur per night, but most dreams can’t be remembered by the child the next day.
  2. Night Terrors – this type of sleep disorder is more frightening and stressful for parents or caregivers. Night terrors usually take place hours after the child has gone to sleep. During night terrors, the child will be shouting and crying during his sleep. He may appear to be awake, but in fact, the child is not conscious at all. There is nothing you can do to stop him from shouting or crying, all you can do is make sure that the child is safe from any dangers, like falling off the bed or hitting his or her head into something hard.
  3. Sleepwalking – Children sleepwalking is not aware of his or her doings. Sleepwalking occurs a few hours after a child falls asleep, just like in night terrors. It is not necessary to wake your child up during sleepwalking, just make sure that your child is away from any danger.

Effects of Sleep Disorders to Children

Sleep disorders in children may mean that they are not able to get enough amounts of sleep during the night. And getting insufficient sleep at night can produce effects, including:

  • Decreased Reaction Time
  • Mood Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Behavior Problems
  • Short Attention Span
  • Learning and Comprehension Problems

Tips for Sleep Disorders in Children

  • Establish a regular bedtime for your children. During weekends, you can adjust the sleeping hour and waking hour only up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Avoid heavy meals or heavy snacks when it is close to your child’s bedtime.
  • Do not give your child caffeinated beverages, such as sodas and energy drinks at least 6 hours before bedtime.
  • Give your child a warm bath before bedtime, to create a relaxing effect that can help in inducing sleepiness.

Since children are still dependents of their guardians, both children and guardians should do managements together. Parents and caregivers play a very big role in managing sleep disorders in children.