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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.


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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What Do You Know About Child Development?

Test your knowledge of child development by taking this quiz.

1. When riding in a motor vehicle, how tall should a child be to sit in a regular seat and use an adult seat belt instead of a being strapped into a car safety seat or booster seat?
2. For which of these should you call your doctor instead of trying at-home treatment?
3. Two out of 3 teen girls don't get enough of which of these in their diet?
4. How much has the rate of obesity in children increased in the last 35 years?
5. Menstruation can begin at which of these ages in girls?
6. It's estimated that 3 to 7 percent of American school children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Which of these famous people is thought to have had the condition?