Is your child sleeping enough?

Many of us as parents face the common issue of sleepless kids and wonder the reasons why.  Sleep Disorders are common in children and they quite a concern to the parents. Observing a child’s sleep pattern and timings is essential to know the underlying causes.

Here are signs that your child may be facing a Sleep Disorder.

  1. Trouble Sleeping: If your child has trouble in falling asleep or staying asleep, wakes up much earlier than normal, then it could be a sign of insomnia. The causes may be stress, pain or a mental disorder. The usual underlying causes of stress are schoolwork and studies, social or family issues or a change of pattern while the pain could be physical or emotional.
  2. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: If the child is not getting enough sleep at night or has a sleep disorder, the child would feel drowsy during the day. Feeling sleepy during daytime occasionally could be due to exhaustion and should be acceptable but not on a daily basis.
  3. Snoring: One of the causes of snoring is partial blockage of air to the lungs which can lead to an obstructive sleep disorder. Other causes of snoring are nasal congestion, respiratory infections etc.
  4. Bedwetting: Unless the child is older than five years of age, bedwetting cannot be considered as a sleep disorder. A Developmental lag, low bladder control and emotional distress are common causes of bedwetting in older children. Bedwetting, when accompanied with daytime drowsiness could be a sign of obstructive sleep disorder.
  5. Nightmares: Occasional nightmares are common in children between the ages of six and ten and the frequency lessens as they grow older. Frequent nightmares which wake the child up can lead to Sleep Disorders, anxiety and behavioural problems.
  6. Night Terrors: When a child isn’t fully awake but dreaming of something frightful wherein the child screams or cries and is found to be breathing rapidly or sweating. The eyes may be wide open in some cases. Such cases last not more than five minutes with the child rarely waking up and it is best not to wake up the child.
  7. Sleep Walking: Common to be found in children below the age of seven, sleep walking may include the unintelligible utterances and the yes may be wide open. Sleep walking can be dangerous especially because the child may walk out of the house or over stairs. It is best to make the house as safe as possible, which includes removing electrical appliances and other potentially dangerous objects out of the child’s reach. Such episodes usually last up to fifteen minutes and it is best not to awaken the child to avoid confusion and fear.

If you notice your child having any of the above sleep disorders, it is best to visit a pediatrician as the child may become cranky and face behavioral issues. The doctor would recommend therapies or advise on medical problems if any. Usually sleep disorders cease over time as the child grows in age.

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