Sleep Problems in Children: The Importance of Early Treatment

A child’s mind is curious, active, and hungry for knowledge and adventure. All this energy needs to be channeled in a healthy, productive way to ensure optimum development of all their potential and abilities.

Good rest is important for children to recharge so that they can get back in action every day. Studies show, however, that up to 50% of children experience some type of sleep problem. Among the most common are parasomnias such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, insomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea.

It is important to identify these issues and address them early on to prevent negative consequences that may affect the child’s healthy growth. Some of these consequences could be daytime sleepiness, irritability, behavioral problems, and learning difficulties that lead to poor academic performance.

Treating sleep problems early on avoids bringing them into adolescence or adulthood, since this could affect other aspects of the child’s life and lead to further mental and physical health issues that worsen the initial conditions.

What Causes Sleep Issues in Children?

Sleep problems in children can happen for different reasons ranging from habits to systemic conditions and other health issues already present. But in general, the common causes are:

  • Stress: Just like adults, kids can suffer from stress. Difficulties in social interaction, bullying, family issues such as divorce or the death of a loved one, or other disruptions in the child’s environment could cause different levels of stress. All of these can negatively affect the child’s sleep, causing insomnia or more complicated conditions.
  • Too much sugar or stimulants: A healthy diet is very important for every stage of a human’s life, but even more so in childhood. Beverages and foods that don’t add nutritional value, and those with high amounts of stimulants like caffeine or sugar, cause an imbalance in the child’s natural rhythms, influencing their sleep.
  • Medical conditions and medication: ADHD, asthma, obesity, allergies, and sleep apnea just a few of the many medical conditions that, along with the side effects of their medications, can affect a kid’s sleep cycle.
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can often be the cause of snoring and sleep apnea (children stop breathing several times per hour all night). Dr. Rondeau will consult with an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) to get enlarged tonsils and adenoids removed.
  • If the child is a Mouthbreather, it is important to use intra-oral appliances to painlessly expand the upper arch to encourage nasal breathing. This is extremely important in helping solve children’s sleep problems.

If you notice that your child is having difficulty sleeping or presenting symptoms of poor sleep, please feel free to contact our office in London, Ontario. We will be happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment.

Dr. Rondeau & Team Rondeau

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