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Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children (cont.)

Sleep Problems and Sleep Disorders Symptoms

There is no absolute definition of a sleep problem in children, but it is possible to categorize the problems as behavioral or physiological. In addition, it is important to remember that most parental complaints regarding their child's sleeping habits focus on how hard it is to convince their child to either go to sleep or stay asleep. Transient episodes of sleep problems are very common, but usually not serious. Often simple behavioral changes can lead to improvement, and thus it is necessary to identify the underlying possible cause (too many naps, long naps, early bedtime, caffeine, illness, and physical discomfort) in order to correct the sleep problem.

Behaviorally-based sleep disorders are often categorized by complaint or by symptoms.

  • Problems with bedtime: This includes dealing with a child's stalling, tantrums, and other resistance to going to sleep, also described as poor sleep routine and hygiene.
  • Difficulties falling asleep: This often persists when infants or children do not learn self-calming, or have inconsistent or inappropriate sleep hygiene practices.
  • Night waking or difficulties staying asleep: This often occurs as a result of external stimuli, such as excessive noise or light, or internal stimuli, such as hunger or anxiety.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness: This is often caused by sleep deprivation and is often observed in adolescents who may not receive adequate hours of sleep.
Medical Editor:

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