Sleep Disorders in Children

Sleep Problems in children are on the rise. They are poorly recognized by parents till it is really a big concern.

Why is it important for us to sleep?

Sleep is no less important than food, drink, or safety in the lives of our children.

  • Sleep is required for enhanced tissue growth and repair in our body. Sleep also takes part in restoration of brain tissue.
  • Sleep may function to conserve energy as the metabolic rates has been 10% of that during the day.
  • Sleep has an important role in learning and memory: retention of new information, encoding and consolidation of memory. Sleep is necessary to dissolve the storage of information that is not necessary

What should be the adequate sleep duration for my child?

American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended healthy sleep duration depending on the age. These are shown in the Image.

What is a healthy sleep?

  • Healthy Sleep means falling asleep quickly, staying asleep through the night, rising without much trouble each morning, not feeling drowsy during the day

What is sleep hygiene?

  • Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good night-time sleep quality and full daytime alertness.

How to improve sleep hygiene in children?

  • Age appropriate bedtimes & waketimes with consistency and sufficient duration
  • Brief calming Bed time short routines like bath, massage, storytelling improve sleep outcomes especially in infants and pre-school children
  • Bed room reserved for sleeping only. Should be  dark, cool, and quiet
  • Electronics should be kept out of children's bedrooms to limit access
  • Good physical activity in day
  • Promote independently falling asleep

What are the common sleep problems in children?

Sleep problems in children can be of various types as described below:

  • Sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) of which the most common is obstructive sleep apnea
  • Parasomnias or Disorders of Arousals like sleep walking, sleep talking, night terrors
  • Insomnia or Disorders of sleep initiation
  • Central disorders of hypersomnolence or Disorders associated with excessive sleepiness in day
  • Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders or Disorders of altered sleep wake cycle
  • Sleep-related movement disorders or Disorders of abnormal movements during sleep