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Common Sleep Disorders

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these are the five most common sleep disorders for children:

  1. Insomnia – difficulty with falling asleep and staying alseep.
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea – briefly stops breathing many times during the night because of a partial or complete blockage in the respiratory tract.
  3. Narcolepsy – strong, uncontrollable urge to sleep, falling asleep for a few minutes or an hour at a time, often in inappropriate places. He or she awakens refreshed but becomes sleepy again as the cycle repeats itself.
  4. Nightmares – especially common in middle childhood, where the child typically awakens because of a scary dream.
  5. Sleep walking – about 15 percent of children, ages 5-12, have at least one sleep-walking episode. Boys tend to be more affected than girls, and episodes usually occur during the first half of nighttime sleep.

Avoiding Long-term Issues

While extreme sleepiness can affect many aspects of day-to-day life, chronic sleep problems can contribute to long-term health issues. Studies show that sleep deprivation can go hand-in-hand with diabetes risk, blood pressure problems and weight issues.

Common Symptoms

  • Excessive tiredness
  • Tendency to fall asleep during the day
  • Sleep-related injuries (such as those that result from dozing off while driving)
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention in school, which can lead to lower grades