Children normally spend at least 30 percent of their time sleeping, but many do not get the quality sleep their growing bodies need. Sleep problems in children are common and often go under diagnosed. Common sleep problems in children include:
- Sleep apnea (snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep).
- Trouble falling or staying asleep.
- Difficulty waking up in the morning.
- Feeling tired throughout the day.
- Nightmares, sleep terrors or sleepwalking.
- Restless leg syndrome (leg pains disturbing sleep).
It’s best to first talk with your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider about your child’s sleep problems. Some children benefit from being seen by a pediatric sleep specialist at a sleep clinic like the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Typically, a visit to a sleep clinic is the first step in the evaluation process. At the first appointment, the specialist will get a better understanding of your child’s sleep problems and do a physical exam. Changes in behavior or family bedtime activities may be the solution to the sleep problems. Other times, an overnight sleep test in a sleep lab is recommended.
During a sleep test, a specially trained sleep technologist monitors the child’s breathing, oxygen levels, heartbeat, brain activity, body movements and snoring throughout the night. The information gathered from the sleep test provides insight into the child’s health and sleep patterns so the specialist can recommend a treatment plan.
If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep habits, talk to your pediatrician or contact a Children’s Hospital sleep specialist at (414) 266-2790.
~ Lynn D’Andrea, MD, medical director, Sleep Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the only sleep center in the state dedicated solely to the care of children and teens. The center has two locations (Milwaukee and New Berlin) both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by four board-certified pediatric sleep specialists.