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4 Big Kid Sleep Problems: October 13, 2011

Parents may think they put their kids’ sleep problems to bed once their children are slumbering through the night. But studies show a quarter of school-aged children have nighttime issues. Dr. Jose Colon is a pediatric neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders at the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“Having a sleep disorder can directly give symptoms of ADHD.”

Kids who don’t get enough sleep are often tired, cranky, aggressive and my have trouble in school. All the result of being worn out and run down.

Number one on our list of sleep stealers: sleep apnea and snoring. It causes sufferers to briefly stop breathing throughout the night.

“Obstructive sleep apnea is common in the pediatric population. Three percent of children can have obstructive sleep apnea however about nine to ten percent can have what’s called benign primary snoring which means they are snoring,” says Dr. Colon.

In adults, sleep apnea is usually caused by excess weight. In children it’s generally their tonsils.

“There are surgical treatment options available. Surgery is usually considered the gold standard for kids less than six or eight years old,” says Dr. Javaad, a sleep specialist with Lee Physician Specialists.

The next sleep stealer is anxiety. Kids today face pressure to succeed. If stress is keeping them up at night, the best thing you can do is help them work through their fears.

Physical conditions like allergies, asthma and reflux are the next sleep stealers. If your child has them, plan to treat the ailments before bedtime.

The final sleep stealer: periodic limb movement.

“In period limb movement disorder you have a limb movement or limb jerk. Mostly it’s of either the toes or the leg. For it to be called periodic you need to have a minimum of four leg jerks that are anywhere between one to 90 seconds apart,” says Dr. Colon.

Clinical sleep disorders are best diagnosed by a sleep specialist.
“You make the diagnosis, you get started on the treatment and it's like your newborn. You get a good nights sleep and you’re vitalized you’re rejuvenated,” says Dr. Khan.

With the right assistance, your youngsters should be snoozing through the night again.