Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep is one of the most commonly discussed topics at our patients’ well visits at Kids Health Alliance. Sleep is an important part of your child’s mental and physical development. If disturbed, it can lead to a host of serious problems. Prevalent mainly in adolescents, an estimated 50% of children globally experience sleep disorders.

What is Pediatric Sleep Disorders?

Pediatric sleep disorders are abnormal sleeping patterns with distinct signs and consequences. They come with a range of signs and severities. Different from occasional oversleeping and undersleeping, sleep disorders can result in neurocognitive and psychosocial impairments. They manifest as irritability, behavioral problems, and learning difficulties in children. They can also lead to weight, height, and social abnormalities.

The etiology and findings of pediatric sleep disorders are very different from adult sleep disorders. Studies show that early medical intervention leads to effective treatment and control.

Know the signs of sleep problems in children and when to worry. The following are the various sleep disorders types prevalent in children.

Arousal Disorders

Arousal disorders are a common occurrence. They cause transitions from deep-sleep to partial wakefulness in children. In most cases, this stage leads to a confused state of mind. It is very common for children with arousal disorders to behave oddly during sleep. It’s almost as if your child is both asleep and awake at the same time.

Children often remember little to nothing after 30 minutes. They are also unresponsive during an episode.

These disorders are mainly caused by fever, abrupt sleep loss, migraine, and irregular sleep-wake routines.

Signs of Arousal Disorder

The signs vary in complexity and severity from child to child. The following are common episodes of arousal disorders that a child may display during sleep:

-Unresponsive sit-ups
-Crying loudly
-Being aggressive to surrounding people and things
-Confused judgment and Disorientation

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea results from the complete or partial collapse of airways. It disrupts your child’s sleep frequently by causing breathing difficulties. Breathing difficulties often result in low body oxygen levels. The awakenings caused by this are as frequent as 100 times per night.

While the awakenings are brief, they fragment the sleep cycle significantly.

Children with Obstructive Sleep Apnea suffer daytime fatigue and sleepiness. They appear low in energy and may snore.

Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

The following are signs to look out for OSA in your child:

-Decreased attention span
-Aggressive behavior
-Cognitive and behavioral impairments
-Breathing via mouth
-Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
-Restless sleep
-Parasomnias such as sleepwalking or night terrors
-Weight abnormalities such as weight loss or poor weight gain
-Daytime sleepiness

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t direct your body to breathe. Frequent episodes of no breathing during sleep are common. This results in low body oxygen levels. Consequently, your child wakes up multiple times. CSA fragments the sleep cycle heavily. It usually takes 10-20 seconds of wakefulness to regain stability.

It is one of the most common sleeping disorders in kids. It requires medical attention promptly. It is caused by low oxygen levels during the day.

Signs of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) in Children

Central Sleep Apnea often comes with the following signs and symptoms:

-Shallow breathing
-Frequent awakenings
-Daytime fatigue
-Excessive sleepiness
-Sweating when asleep
-Episodes of no breathing when asleep
-Low-oxygen levels in the body

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Leg Syndrome is a common pediatric Sleep Disorder. It is a neurological condition. It causes abnormal sensations and urges a person to move when they lie down. These sensations usually appear right after 15 minutes of lying down. They are mostly localized in the legs. However, your child may also experience these in his or her torso, arms, and limbs. These frequent urges to move fragment the sleep cycle of your child heavily. They also lead to a host of problems associated with disturbed sleeping cycles.

Signs of Restless Legs Syndrome

Your child may exhibit the following if they have RLS:

-Involuntary limb movements
-Sensations such as creeping, crawling, and prickling in bed
-Mood swings
-Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
-Aggressive behavior
-Child tosses and turns all night

Child Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common pediatric sleep disorders. If your child is struggling with insomnia, he or she will experience difficulties in falling asleep or remaining asleep.

It can gravely affect their life’s quality and cause physical and emotional impairments.

Short-term insomnias usually go away within a month. They are often stress-related and do not cause any potential long-term detrimental effects. However, insomnia becomes chronic if persistent for more than 6 months. Chronic insomnia stems from other health conditions such as depression or chronic pain.

A child is more likely to face short-term insomnia over chronic insomnia.

Signs of Child Insomnia

The following are signs of child insomnia:

-Unusual wake-sleep times
-Daytime Fatigue
-Failed sleeping attempts
-Difficulty remaining asleep

Specialized Treatment at Kids’ Health Alliance

Sleep problems in children are a common occurrence that we frequently deal with at Kids’ Health Alliance. With scheduled awakenings, positive reinforcement, and other techniques, our professionals will help your child overcome their sleep problems. In the case of sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure may be recommended. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit


Comments are closed.