Sleep problems are a common occurrence that many parents face with their infants and children. Many of these sleep problems may be outgrown as they are linked to common developmental stages experienced during childhood. However, some sleep problems may be due in part to health or psychological issues.
When children experience brief pauses in breathing while they are sleeping, this could be a symptom of sleep apnea, especially if there is also a tendency toward snoring. However, this isn't always the case. During sleep, children undergo various changes in their breathing patterns which may include brief pauses, snoring, snorting, or sighing. A sigh is frequently not heard and may appear as a pause. If symptoms occur frequently or are of concern, it is best to discuss these issues with your child's doctor.
Young children experience frequent changes in their sleep patterns throughout the night, so are more likely to awaken one or more times during the night. Most kids will learn to soothe themselves back to sleep if there are no health or comfort reasons to keep them from doing so. Children who wake frequently during the night with no underlying problems or health issues often benefit from a delayed bedtime. If children still continue to wake during the night and need parental assistance to return to sleep, it may be necessary to let them cry it out and learn to soothe themselves back to sleep.
Sleepwalking occurs more frequently than you might think. Children who sleepwalk often appear to be awake and might even be able to carry on some type of disjointed conversation. There's no need to awaken children who are sleepwalking. Rather, try to guide them back to bed. Keep things off the floor to prevent tripping and falling and keep doors and windows locked for safety purposes. Children don't remember their sleepwalking episodes, so it's often best to avoid speaking with your children about the issue, as it might make children afraid to sleep or go to bed at night.
Even very young children may develop nightmares. Reassure your child to help them be able to fall back asleep. Discuss the nightmare during the day and give necessary reassurance. Keep consistent and light bedtime routines and be sure children get enough sleep. If nightmares become a frequent occurrence, it is often helpful to discuss this with your children's doctor.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is common in young children and may have a variety of causes. Children may grind their teeth if they aren't aligned correctly, or even in the case of teething pain or earache. Teeth grinding may also occur from allergies. However, teeth grinding is frequently caused by tension or stress experienced during the day or at bedtime. A warm, relaxing bath or extra snuggle time can help, as well as creating a lighter bedtime routine.
Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind.
Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.