Sleep problems are common in children and adolescents. Some studies have found that the rate of children suffering from sleep disorders is similar to that of adults. However, children and adolescents may present their problems in different ways. Bedtime issues may represent a behavioral problem, or may be an indicator of insomnia or another sleep disorder. Sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder, that is linked to being overweight, is increasingly seen in children as the epidemic of childhood obesity grows. Symptoms may manifest during the day, with difficulty functioning in school and social situations. Some sleep disorders that commonly appear in childhood are known as “parasomnias." Some examples of parasomnias include sleep walking, night terrors, and nightmares. Other sleep problems may be associated with childhood disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental disabilities, or childhood depression.
The good news for parents is that evaluation and treatment options are available. Treatments often consist of behavioral (non-drug) therapies that can have a positive impact on the child’s symptoms and overall functioning. Interaction between parents, doctors, and teachers is often critical to achieving treatment success – ensuring that everyone who is involved in the care and development of a child understands their condition, treatment, and treatment objectives.
The Sleep Disorders Institute is one of the region’s leading pediatric sleep disorders centers, providing evaluation and treatment by pediatric sleep specialists who work with children 4 years of age and older.