Sleep Disorders and Youth
Sleep is critical to all major functions of the body. In children, sleep is essential for proper mental and physical development. Studies link sleep with learning; the area of the brain that controls processing procedural or “how to” learning has been demonstrated to be negatively affected by lack of sleep.
Why Doesn’t My Child Sleep?
While natural body rhythms known as the circadian rhythm regulate the internal body clock as to when your child should be awake and when to sleep, there are environmental and developmental issues that can impact these rhythms.
Adjusting bedtime rituals and shifting task-oriented responsibilities to earlier in the evening can help. Homework, sports team practices and/or games and sibling interruptions are examples of outside influences that can be controlled.
How Much Sleep is Needed?
Although each child is different, physicians recommend the following minimum amounts of sleep based on age:
- Newborns/Young Infants: 16-18 Hours
- Older Babies: 12-15 Hours
- Toddlers (2-4 years with naps): 10-12 Hours
- Young Children (6-10 years): 10 Hours
- Teens (11-17 years): 8-9 Hours
Does Your Child Snore?
Medical experts indicate that any child who snores regularly, or has other signs of breathing problems during sleep, may benefit from an evaluation for sleep problems and perhaps from tonsillectomy - especially if the child is also having behavior problems at home or school.
Sleep Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
If a child has difficulties with attention deficit, hyperactivity, or daytime sleepiness, there may be something that can be done about it if the child proves to have a sleep disorder. An undiagnosed sleep disorder is not the reason behind all children with ADHD, but determining if there is a sleep disorder is especially helpful for those children with symptoms that suggest a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
Concerned Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep?
If these statements apply to your child, speak with your pediatrician.
- My child has problems falling or staying asleep.
- Teachers tell me that my child has problems staying awake in class.
- My child acts out excessively and/or has trouble concentrating.
- My child snores loudly and sometimes gasps for breath while sleeping.
- My child is a “mouth breather”.
- My child often wets the bed.
To determine how to best improve your child’s sleep, the physician may order a sleep study to determine if a sleep disorder may be contributing to your child’s lack of quality sleep.
The Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital is a state-of-the-art diagnostic center that provides the highest quality of care to you and your family in a “home-like” setting. If your child is scheduled for a non-invasive sleep study, you may accompany them and stay overnight. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at 914-787-4400.