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What are common types of sleep disorders in children?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, these are common sleep disorders for children:
  • Insomnia: In one survey of children in pediatricians’ waiting rooms, more than 40 percent were reported by their parents to experience some form of insomnia: unrefreshing sleep, difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or early-morning awakenings. Sometimes even sooner than a child can talk and walk independently, poor sleep habits and certain interactions with parents can get in the way of falling asleep.
  • Sleep apnea: A child with sleep apnea briefly stops breathing many times during the night because of an obstruction in the respiratory tract. She awakens for a few minutes as she instinctively gasps for air. 
  • Nightmares: Nightmares are especially common in middle childhood. The child typically awakens because of a scary dream. She might become anxious, breathe heavily and begin crying. 
  • Sleep walking: About 15 percent of children ages 5 to 12 have at least one sleep-walking episode. Boys tend to be more affected than girls, and episodes usually occur during the second or third hour of nighttime sleep.
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Studies have found that sleep problems are common, but often overlooked in children. The term “sleep disorder” encompasses many different sleeping problems, and they can be boiled down to four categories:

  • Difficulties falling and staying asleep
  • Not being able to stay awake
  • Inability to keep to a regular sleep schedule
  • Disruptive sleep behaviors

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.