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Pediatric Neurology - Sleep disorders

​​​​​​​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
  • Snoring
  • 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.

Treatments

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.

Sleep study
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.​

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