The term Pediatric Sleep Disorders is used for defining a set of disorders that affects the sleep patterns of the child. It includes symptoms related to sleeplessness, which include restless leg syndrome, inability to sleep at night, child insomnia, frequent waking and nightmares, and various other forms of sleeping trouble at night.
HOW IS PEDIATRIC SLEEP DISORDERS DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of pediatric sleep disorders is based on observation of sleep pattern and symptoms. The pediatrician may ask questions about the child’s routine and lifestyle. In some cases a somnologist may be brought in to study the child’s sleep pattern in a sleep lab.
HOW IS PEDIATRIC SLEEP DISORDERS TREATED?
Behavioral interventions should be the mainstay of treatment of pediatric insomnia and should be offered as initial treatment. Gradual extinction, bedtime fading, positive routines, and scheduled awakenings are also strongly supported as treatments for young children. For older children and adolescents, behavioral strategies that aim to reduce arousal at bedtime are often recommended. First, sleep hygiene education is particularly important. In addition, progressive muscle relaxation, stimulus control, and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as thought stopping, increasing positive thinking, and journaling “worries” at bedtime, are often recommended.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sleep disorders in children may lead to daytime moodiness, irritability, lack of focus in class, sleepiness in school, inability to get up in time for school, and significant behavioral and learning problems. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to cause adverse cardiovascular and metabolic effects as well as failure to thrive.