In children, it is not always easy to address sleep problems, and sleep disorders often go undiagnosed.
If a child experiences any of the following, and, in general, good sleep hygiene practices are in place, the child may have a sleep disorder:
- Chronic tiredness
- Periodic pauses in breathing while asleep
- Waking in the night and having trouble getting back to sleep
- Falling asleep suddenly during the day
- Rhythmically kicking or moving the body during sleep
- Ongoing problems sleeping well at night
- Excessive sleepwalking
Marshfield Clinic has sleep specialists throughout our system of care to help diagnose and treat children with sleep disorders.
Good sleep hygiene practices:
- Keep a sleep diary. Note how much sleep your child is getting, when he or she gets sleepy at night, and whether signs of sleep problems appear during the daytime.
- Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
- Encourage relaxing bedtime activities, such as reading or bathing.
- Develop a bedtime routine and stick to the same routine each night.
- Avoid big meals close to bedtime and avoid foods or drinks which contain caffeine or chocolate.
- Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and not too hot or too cold. Soothing music may help your child sleep.
- Avoid emotional conversations close to bedtime.
- Encourage plenty of exercise during the day, but avoid exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Cut down on activities if a busy schedule is affecting your child's sleep.
- Keep televisions, computers, and other electronic devices out of your child's bedroom.
- Take steps to help your child lose weight, if needed.
To determine if your child has a sleep disorder, a sleep study may be necessary. A sleep study will record how your child's lungs, heart, and other parts of your body function while they are asleep.