Common Sleep Problems in Children

What causes sleep disturbance in children?

Any alarming symptom can be a reason for visiting a doctor for young parents. When mothers notice that the baby is not sleeping well, they also usually rush to visit the pediatrician. Such care for the little one is commendable, but do not panic right away. So, sleep disturbance in children usually worries parents.

This phenomenon may be the limit of the norm, which has a completely logical explanation from the point of view of physiology. In this case, you just need to watch the baby, and if normal rest is not restored, consult a doctor. But it also happens that these disorders are not the norm, and the phenomenon can be determined by a number of signs.

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ideal sleep for children

What causes sleep disturbance in children?

Deep sleep is usually compared to infant sleep. But parents, in whose family a baby appeared, know that his night's rest is not always calm and serene. Many people believe that in nursing babies, it should be as measured as in an adult. In fact, the crumbs do sleep a lot, but not soundly, and this is the norm.

During the period of intrauterine development, the fetus does not distinguish between night and day, therefore, its rest did not depend on the time of day.


It was replaced by wakefulness, depending on the fatigue of the fetus.

At birth, the baby cannot adapt to the changes of the day for some time, and his rest continues to not depend on the time of day. At night he can wake up and wake up the whole family, and during the day he can sleep soundly. The awakening of children during this period is caused by the need for nutrition and communication with the outside world and parents.

The baby's rest is divided into several phases:

  • Falling asleep;
  • Superficial or Fast;
  • Deep or Slow.

In infants, the surface phase predominates, taking up about 80% of the total rest time. By the age of six months, it becomes shorter (about 50%), by the age of three it accounts for about 30%. For older children and adults, this phase is about 20% of the time.

The superficial phase of sleep in children is characterized by some anxiety. This is due to the continuation of the formation of the crumbs' nervous system, assimilation by the brain of the information received during wakefulness.

What causes sleep disturbance in children?

These processes can be accompanied by movements of the eyeballs, a smile, uneven breathing, and startle. After about 20 minutes, this phase is replaced by a deep one. The baby's breathing becomes even, the eyeballs stop moving. During this period,the rape can be sweaty, but it is difficult to wake it up.

All these phenomena are considered the norm for a small child, and in order for him to sleep peacefully, it is necessary to hold the little one in his arms for the first 20 minutes of his rest, and only then move it to the arena. But there may be other manifestations that indicate violations.

Symptoms of Sleep Disorder in Children

By what signs can you determine that the child's rest process is disturbed?

What causes sleep disturbance in children?
  • Bruxism. It is understood as grinding teeth. Bruxism can occur in both young children and adolescents. As a rule, it manifests itself in children aged 10-12 years and is often associated with a rapid heartbeat, pressure drops, and uneven breathing. With such symptoms, you should consult a dentist, as the enamel of the teeth can be destroyed, and a neurologist;
  • Startled. In the case of infants, parental flinches should be alert if they are observed during deep sleep, as in this case they may indicate the presence of disturbances. One of the most serious provocateurs that must be ruled out is epilepsy. The risk group consists of babies diagnosed with hypoxia at birth, as well as crumbs with intrauterine malformations;
  • Sleepwalking. Most often observed in children 5-8 years old. The phenomenon is characterized by nighttime awakening and the manifestation of activity. Despite the fact that the child's eyes are open, he is in a state of rest, his movements are unsteady, but he does not stumble over furniture;
  • Speaking in a dream. Often this phenomenon occurs along with walking. The child does not wake up, but speaks in abrupt phrases, makes sounds, and sometimes can speak in whole coherent monologues. As in the case of walking, children do not remember in the morning what happened to them at night. Both of these phenomena are most common in school-aged children;
  • Waking up at night. If they are frequent, they are worth paying attention to. The main reasons for nighttime awakenings in infants are described above, but if the baby often wakes up in a deep phase, you just need to wean it off, trying not to take it in your arms every time you wake up to comfort;
  • Disrupted sleep initiation. It manifests itself in the unwillingness to fall asleep at the time set by the regime. Toddlers try to prolong their waking time, finding reasons not to sleep. As a rule, this phenomenon is observed in preschoolers.

Also, the child may experience symptoms such as snoring, shortness of breath, which can be caused by enlargement of the tonsils or adenoids, which disrupt night sleep, forcing the baby to breathe through his mouth.

Children of all ages can have nightmares and fears. As for the first, they make the baby wake up, while he remembers his dream well. Fears usually bother children under 6 years of age. Fears manifest in crying, sometimes screaming in the middle of the nightand. At the same time, the kid does not fully wake up, therefore, in the morning, as a rule, he does not remember what bothered him, and that he woke up at all.

There are the following types of sleep disorders:

  • Primary - not accompanied by ailments;
  • Secondary - due to pathologies.

Causes of sleep disorders in children

To eliminate the disorder, it is necessary to find out what factors provoke them.

What causes sleep disturbance?

  • Physiological features;
  • Diseases of the baby, including those of a neurological nature;
  • Emotional overload.
What causes sleep disturbance in children?

The physiological features include, in particular, the course of the sleep phase in infants.

Often, the behavior of the baby during rest changes after reaching six months of age.

He can wake up at night, try to get on all fours, cry, be capricious, which, as a rule, does not indicate a sleep disorder in a small child. These phenomena are due to the analysis of everything seen during the day.

If at the same time the baby feels good during the day, he is cheerful and vigorous, you should not worry. Sobbing and whimpering can be evidence of emotional overexcitement, which is also caused by the abundance of emotions received during the day.

Colic, the appearance of the first teeth can also cause disorder. Pay also attention to the clothes of the crumbs - does it press him, from what material it is made. Perhaps the rest of the toddler is simply uncomfortable. Overheating can provoke anxiety. Pay attention if the baby is hot.

Treatment of sleep disorders in children

There are a number of signs that should be the reason for going to the doctor. If pathologies are detected, he will prescribe treatment, but the sleep disturbance of the little one in itself usually does not need drug treatment.

Reasons for contacting a doctor:

  • Irregular breathing throughout the rest period;
  • Disorder lasting more than 3 months;
  • Enuresis;
  • Deterioration of the overall well-being of the little one, lethargy, bad mood.
What causes sleep disturbance in children?

What can you do to keep your little one sleeping well? Make sure he is not overly active 1-2 hours before rest. Maintain the optimum temperature in his bedroom (about 20 degrees).

Protect your child from watching too colorful cartoons with special effects, especially at night.

Many mothers treat this phenomenon on their own by rubbing with essential oils and herbal decoctions, but these methods must be agreed with the pediatrician.

As you can see, anxiety of babies during rest is not always a reason for panic. It is necessary to provide the baby with comfortable conditions, affection and care so that the baby finds a peaceful sleep.

What Are Sleep Disorders? | Child Psychology

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