Sleep Problems in children

Important Things to Know About Sleep Problems & Disorders in a Child

  • More than a third of school-aged children may have sleep problems.
  • Disturbed sleep at night makes it harder to function during the day. It raises the risk of problems with how a child behaves and learns.
  • Problems to do with a child’s sleep might not be noticed for some time. Parents often find it hard to detect that something is wrong.
  • Most sleep problems and sleep disorders can be treated. Most can be cured. Some can’t be cured, but can be managed.
  • There are sleep units that specialize in children’s sleep. These have children’s sleep specialists to work out what is wrong with the child’s sleep and how to treat it.

What is delayed sleep phase syndrome?

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a disorder where you find it harder to go to sleep until very late at night. This can be as late as 4AM. In the morning, you will want to sleep in for longer, perhaps until the early afternoon. If you have to wake up earlier than this, then you will feel groggy, but as the day goes on, you will get more energy. Even if you wake up early, in the evening your body will still only want to go to sleep late at night. On the weekend, many people with DSPS will sleep in even later in the afternoon.

 

What causes delayed sleep phase syndrome?

Your body contains a kind of internal clock that tells you when to wake up and when to go to bed. Scientists think that if you have DSPS, this clock is not running properly. A hormone called Melatonin might be involved here. Your lifestyle can also be involved. Young adults often don’t feel very sleepy ay night, so they stay up too late, and this moves the timing of their Body Clock.

 

Sleep tips for children with sleep disorder

  • Establish a regular sleep pattern
  • A consistent bedtime routine
  • Make sure the bedroom is comfortable
  • The bed is for sleeping, not entertainment
  • A snack before bed may help
  • Caffeine is a stimulant, don’t use it before bed
  • Take care with daytime naps
  • Exercise and spend time outdoors
  • Work with your doctor or paedeatrician