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Three Common Causes of Sleep Disorders in Kids

Child with Restless Sleep Syndrome

Sleep is essential to everyone as it helps maintain overall health and well-being. Furthermore, kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory and overall mental and physical health. Adequate sleep hours vary by age— the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • <12 months: 13-18 hours 
  • 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
  • 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

If you think your child isn’t getting enough sleep, stick to a regular bedtime routine. Here are a few tricks you can use to help your child get to bed on time at night. Have them:

  • Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime
  • Take a warm bath
  • Put on pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Read for 10-15 minutes
  • Goodnight wishes

However, if your child is having trouble staying asleep, or is unable to get enough uninterrupted sleep, they may be struggling with an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

Common Problems Starting or Maintaining sleep in children

  • Bedtime resistance
  • Delayed sleep onset
  • Problems with night awakenings with:
  • Screaming/Agitation/Terrors
  • Sleep walking

Common causes of sleep disorders in kids

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
    Pediatric OSA is a sleep disorder in which a child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep. The most common culprits being the tonsils and adenoids. Childhood obesity can also be associated with sleep apnea. School performance can be adversely affected with attention problems.
  • Narcolepsy
    Absent or reduced hormone can cause severe daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle control at times (Cataplexy). 
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
    RLS is a sleep disorder that causes uncomfortable leg sensations and an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. Children with RLS often present with conduct problems like aggression, inattention, hyperactivity and daytime somnolence because of their inability to sleep restfully.

If you’re struggling with a bad sleeper and want to learn more about sleep disorders in kids, call Pomona Valley Health Center in Chino Hills, Claremont, or Pomona. Our skilled specialists can identify your little one’s sleep problems and help them sleep more peacefully.