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Children And Adolescents Sleep’s Disorder


Children_And_Adolescents_Sleep_DisorderSleep is crucial to the mental and physical development of children, who need to spend about 40 percent of their time sleeping. Their sleep requirements vary as they grow.

Children are often exposed to “sleep stealers”, such as caffeine, television, the internet, and other activities that may result in sleep disruption. They can suffer the same sorts of sleep disorders as adults, so if you have any concerns, discuss with these your doctor.




How Much Sleep Do Newborn Babies need?

Sleep for the first 1 to 2 months of life usually occurs around the clock. The sleep wake cycle comprises sleep and walking to the fed, changed, or nurtured. Newborns an irregular sleep wake cycle and sleep anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. Wake times can last from one to three hours at a time. Sleep is very active and 50 percent of sleep time for a baby is spent in REM sleep.


How Can I Help My Baby Develop A Sleep Pattern?

Newborns should be put to bed when sleepy so they will start to learn to how to get them to sleep. There are many theories and many books on how to develop sleep patterns in newborns and infants, but each child will have his or her own pattern than can gradually be adapted to our society’s day night cycle. Exposure to bright light and play during the day will keep a baby awake for longer, while a quieter and dimmer environment towards nightfall will be more conducive to sleep.


Does A Breastfed Child Develop Sleep Disturbance After breastfeeding Stops?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that breastfeeding your child (which involves a lot of awake time during the night) will lead to sleep disturbances once the child comes off the breast.


How Should A Baby Be Put To Bed?

Babies should be put to bed when they become sleepy, and not when they are asleep. Make sure the head, face, and neck are clear of bedclothes and put the baby on his or her back.


Is Co-sleeping Good or Bad For Babies?

Co-sleeping (sharing a bed) is common in many cultures. There is no hard and fast evidence to suggest an increased risk of suffocation of the child. It is generally recommended that the infant be put to sleep in a separate room from the caregiver to avoid affecting the sleep-wake cycle of the adult. Many parents feel they are thereby becoming inattentive to their child’s needs. But there is some evidence to suggest that they tend to get up even more often if they hear the child crying. There is some evidence to suggest that children who later develop sleep problems experience co-sleeping in their infancy. In adults, sleeping apart has been shown to lead to a more refreshing night’s sleep.


How Does Colic In My Baby Affect His/Her Sleep?

Colic is one the more common disorder affecting sleep in infants. Usually it resolves by 4 to 5 months of age. It is characterized by fussiness that is inconsolable in the late afternoon or evening hours. It is through that colic reflects development of the brain during the first few months of life. Eventually, the colicky behavior will settle, but associated sleep problems may not unless the parents or carers enforce a sleep wake routine consistently. Colicky infant miss periods of sleep during their attacks, which can affect their sleep wake cycle.


Once The Colic Has Resolved, How Do I Get My Baby To Sleep?

You must enforce regular daytime and night time sleep patterns and adhere to them. The morning wake up time is the most important aspect of the schedule. It must be fixed and consistent. Bedtime at night should also be strictly adhered to. Being persistent with this regimen is the single most important aspect of getting your baby back into a regular routine.


Can Cow’s Milk Allergy Cause Problem With Sleep In Infant?

Yes, it can be difficult to differentiate cow’s milk allergy from colic. However, your doctor will be able to do some blood test to establish the diagnosis of allergy. Infants with cow’s milk allergy often have very frequent night time awakenings and their total sleep time is reduced. Crying during the daytime is common and the infant appears to be fussy. Problems with behavior and sleep can be easily resolved once cow’s milk based formula is discontinued. Symptom should normalize within about 2 weeks.


My Baby Needs To Drink A Lot During The Night, Is This Affecting Her/His Sleep?

Excessive nocturnal fluid intake is a recognized cause of disturbed sleep at night both for the baby and parents. Babies who drink large volume of fluid (8-32 oz) during the night typically awaken with heavily soaked nappies in the morning. From the seventh month, the infant should not be waking up at night to feed. Reasons for awakening to eat at night include: a learned response associating food with sleep, bladder distension causing awakening, and learned hunger. If large volumes of fluid are consumed, the problem is one of excessive fluid intake. If the infant consumes small volumes of fluid, then the association of sleep the presence of a parent is more important.


How Can I Wean My Baby Off Fluids?

The trick is to gradually reduce the amount of nightly feed and fluid during the night over a period of about 1-2 weeks. Diluting milk with water can also help. If you are breastfeeding and your baby’s cry results in “letting down” of milk, it may be better for you to express this milk and feed through a bottle, diluting it gradually and weaning your baby that your way. Your letdown will stop once the baby is sleeping through the night and no longer wakes up crying.


How Much Sleep Do Toddlers Need?

Children between the ages of 1 to 3 years need about 12-14 hours of sleep in total during a 24 hour period. Naptimes during the day decrease with age and shouldn’t be more than 1-3 hours in duration the older the child gets. This is very much dependent on the sleep needs of child in terms of development and genetically determined sleeps needs that may already be apparent.


What Sort of Problems With Sleep Can Occur At This Age?

This can be a trying time for getting the child to sleep. It is a time in the developmental process where boundaries are being tested and children become more self aware. There can be resistance to going to bed at night. Children are able to get out of bed by themselves and once their imagination starts to develop, nightmares and night terrors can starts to occur. It is therefore important that a routine is kept for sleep wake times and reinforced as much as possible. Consistency is the key. Sometimes security objects (like a toy or a blanket) can be a useful. If you have more than one child of this in the household and they have different sleep patterns, it is often idea to have them sleep separately from each other, if at all possible.


How Much Sleep Do Pre-schoolers Need?

After the age of 5 years, it is unusual for a child to require daytime naps. Children of this age still need a lot of sleep through. Generally 11 to 13 hours a night. Behavioral problems with sleep can occur, with more awakening and opposition to bedtime. Once again, a consistent routine is the best way to counter this. This is the age at which sleepwalking and night terrors may start to occur.


How Much Sleep Do School Aged Children Need?

Between about 5 to 12 years of age, children have about the same sleep requirements as when they were pre-schoolers. Generally, 10 to 12 hours a night are needed to ensure maximum daytime functioning. At this period in their sleep patterns, such as extra-curricular activities, engagement with computing and television, and less supervised intake of foods and drink which may contain caffeine (such as soft drink). Disturbances to sleep wake cycle and inadequate sleep can lead to poor school performance, mood disorders, and hyperactivity. Many primary sleep disorders come to the fore during this time, including sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, sleep-walking and sleep-talking. A consistent bedtime routine is important.


How Much Sleep Is enough During Adolescence?

During adolescence, sleep requirements slightly fall, but are still more than in adults. Somewhere around 9 to 10 hours a night (especially in early adolescence) is necessary. However, there will be a lot variation in this depending on genetically determined requirements.


What Can Disrupt The Sleep of An Adolescent?

Extra-curricular and social activities and heavy homework schedule during adolescence take a toll on sleep. Many adolescents have independent access to computers and television in their own rooms that may deprive them to sleep. It is not unusual for adolescents to develop a phase shift in their sleep or for the first sign of delayed sleep phase syndrome to occur. This can have a negative impact on school or job performance. A routine and consistent bedtime schedule is important during phase of development. However hard it may be for parents to enforce it.


Sleep Hygiene For Children


Children_And_Adolescents_Sleep_DisorderChildren and adolescents need a well planned routine. No children will ever hold it against you if you enforce a routine sleep wake cycle.

It is as important as all the other basic aspect of self care (like appropriate toilet training, brushing teeth, and bathing). Sleep hygiene for children is very similar to sleep hygiene for adults expect for a few extra considerations. See the info below:




Bedtime should be content and predictable, while allowing for some flexibility, and should by firmly and consistently reinforce.


Parents or carers should ensure that morning awakening times are consistent and strictly reinforced, as this is the most important part of the day in stabling a regular sleep wake cycle.


As for adults, the child’s bedroom should be kept quit and dark during the night.


The temperature in the bedroom should be comfortable (less than or equal to 24.C or 75F)


Try to minimize environment noise. White noise may be helpful to mask a noisy environment.


Daytime naps should be appropriate for the child’s age and requirements. Naps should not be taken close to bedtime.


Children need to learn to fall asleep on their own. This means getting the child to bed when he or she is drowsy but still awake, so that they can learn to get themselves to sleep.


Make sure that the environment is safe and secure and that the child feels this way about his or her bedroom. The child must be reassured that access to their parents is available if needed but not to help them get to sleep.


All vigorous activities should cease one to two hours before bedtime. If you child’s bath time provide too much excitement and stimulation at night, choose another time for bathing such as late afternoon or in the morning.


Avoid all caffeine and alcohol containing products. Note that reference to the caffeine content may be hidden in the ingredient list many type of food.


If you child is hungry give him on her a snack. Children should never be sent to bed hungry.


Keep fluids before bedtime to a minimum and ensure that the child has been to the toilet before going to bed.


Children should be allowed to protest and cry for a period of time that is appropriate for their age. If it is too exiting, parent or carers can intervene and clam the child down. They should then leave the room while the child is awake and allow the child to fall asleep by him or herself. This process should continue until the child is asleep. It may take several hours to settle a child in this way, but if you are persistent and consistent, then problem will settle quickly.


How Can I tell If My Child Has A Sleep Problem?


Children_And_Adolescents_Sleep_DisorderAlways consider the possibility of sleep problem if your child of sleepy during the day (this is abnormal for children who have a healthy balanced lifestyle), has started to show a decline in schoolwork or interest in activities, if this or her mood or activity levels have changed, or his or her behaviors is becoming increasingly difficult or unpredictable. A simple way to remember the different causes of sleep problems is with mnemonic “B.E.A.R.S”.


B – Bedtime Problems


Does your child have difficulty getting to sleep?


Does your child resist going to bed?


Does your child take a long time to fall asleep?


 E – Excessive Daytime Sleepiness


Is your abnormally sleepy during the day?


Does your child have great difficulty getting up in the morning?


Does it take your child a while to get going in the morning?


Does your child fall asleep for no reason during the day?


Does your child nap during the day (apart from developmentally appropriate naps)?


 A – Awakenings At Night


Does your child get up frequently during the night?


Does your child stay up for long period during the night?


Does your child suffer from nightmares or right-time fears?


Does your child sleep walk regularly or wake up with night terror?


 R – Regularity And Duration of Sleep


How long does your child need to sleep for?


What is your child’s sleep pattern like?


Can your child follow a strict bedtime routine and get up at the same time every day?


 S – Snoring


Does your child snore during sleep?


Does your child have breathing pauses during sleep?


Does your child get easily tired during the day or have behavioral problems, or has his or her school performance dropped off?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions (or if your child’s sleep-wake routine is irregular) and you are concerned about your child’s sleep or daytime function, please seek medical advice.


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Department of Neurology. Helsinki, Finland