Common Children's Sleep Disorders

It is important to understand that most sleep problems in children are not the result of poor parenting, nor do they reflect serious medical or psychological conditions. Many childhood sleep disorders can be resolved with a better understanding of sleep, some common sense recommendations and attention to the child's general physical and emotional health.

Nightmares are frightening dreams that usually occur during the second half of the night when dreaming is most intense.

Night terrors are more severe and frightening than nightmares, and generally arise within the first half of the night when sleep is deepest. They are typically characterized by uncontrollable crying and screaming.

Sleepwalking and sleeptalking also occur during deep sleep, particularly if your child is overly tired or under significant stress.

Bedwetting (or enuresis) is normal until around age 5, but thereafter may signal an underdeveloped bladder or abrupt arousals from deep sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in both adults and children, characterized by snoring, obstructed breathing during sleep and multiple awakenings throughout the night.

Limit-setting sleep disorder occurs when a child stalls or refuses to go to bed at his or her scheduled bedtime, usually resulting in a struggle or conflict with the primary caregiver.

Delayed sleep phase syndrome begins during adolescence and results in trouble falling asleep at an appropriate bedtime, a preference for a later bedtime and significant difficulty awakening in the morning for school or work.