Warning signs in childhood sleep disorders

Written by: Dr. Jordi Sasot Llevadot
Edited by: Noelia Pino García


When to see a specialist when infant sleep disorders?

It would be desirable to see a specialist when we observe the following warning signs: Sleep disorders by educational cause, Fear of sleep, insomnia, hypersomnia or obstructive apnea. Also when the child has night terrors, sleepwalking and bruxism. And finally when there somniloquy, offense capitis and narcolepsy.

The explained:

night terror

Sleep Disorders educational cause

The root cause of this problem is the poor purchasing habit of sleep, that is, there is a distortion and disintegration by inadequate child does with his dream associations, usually because of changes made by parents to try to get the child to sleep or educational guidelines with sleep, disruptive for the child. They are children with an attitude very awake, capturing with great intensity stimuli that exist around them usually with anxiety and insecurity. Usually they have a light sleep during which appear restless, as watchers, and any noise awakens.

Children may be irritable during the day, with great dependence on the caregiver. Moreover, it is very important that a bedtime routine, like putting a specific time or do some ritual for the child to go to sleep also has to keep the child quiet when the time is about sleep is established. There are a number of individual differences that can influence a child's sleep, apart from those mentioned, such as nutrition, physical and mental fatigue and other external factors.

Finally, it is important that parents know the role that educators also sleep. They have to mark the guidelines to go to sleep, especially before bedtime rejection of child and demand attention to them at bedtime. Time to have guidelines and minimum hours sleep, affects a better consolidation of learning and adequate growth.


Fear of sleep

A child may resist going to sleep for several reasons. You may be afraid of the dark or not wake up, you can also feel insecure when alone, so you may be unable to sleep without the presence of adults, so if you wake up, usually sleep with their parents. Often children develop feelings of concern to physically separate from their parents, sleep alone, fear of the dark, noise or thieves.

It is important to talk to the small of your fears to help them overcome. What not to do in these cases is laugh it off or minimize, as this does not serve to overcome fears, and instead causes children to lose confidence in sharing their insecurity with their parents and feeds fears. If instead, you should learn to face their fears, we must listen and explain that they have strength to overcome fears without saying that they do not exist.

It should also be clear that there is a normal stage of child appearing in evolutionary fears. Finally, a way of not supporting the child's fear is to facilitate independence, removing it from the parents' room or bed of them before one year of life.


Insomnia, hypersomnia and obstructive apnea

In childhood insomnia, parents usually explain that the child has never slept well. The symptom that characterizes this type of alteration is the difficulty in initiating sleep without help or collaboration. At night these children may also present nighttime awakenings, ie often disrupt your sleep many times and have difficulties to return to conciliate spontaneously and unassisted.

Hypersomnia is an excessive amount of sleep that occurs with increased daytime sleepiness and prolonged episodes of nocturnal sleep. It is very rare in children and usually found as a symptom of other disorders in the adolescent period. Keep in mind that this syndrome is less important when the child is small, as is normal sleep hours.

Syndrome childhood sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep appearing at times of respiratory effort. Consequently frequent awakenings occur, breaking the cycle of sleep and causing daytime sleepiness. In this case, always consult your pediatrician.

Do not forget that all commented disorders may involve other problems such as increased irritability, attention disorders or developmental difficulties and also commented disorders that may result from other developmental disorders.


Night terrors, sleepwalking and bruxism

In episodes of night terrors it is common for the child to sit up in bed and start to cry and mourn with a facial expression of terror and signs of intense anxiety.

It not usually wakes up easily even if you have your eyes open, despite the efforts of others to wake. If finally this is achieved, the child is confused, disoriented for a few minutes and with a certain sense of fear. The next day you do not remember or dream or what happened, unlike nightmares, in which if you remember the episode.

In somnambulism the essential characteristic is the existence of episodes in which the child sits up abruptly in bed and can even get up and start walking. The eyes may be open and stare. The child can pronounce some words usually one or incoherently. You can also perform more complex behaviors. All this happens with total disregard their environment.

Bruxism is called the unconscious habit that leads to friction between the teeth during the night or day. Usually the result of situations that require a lot of concentration or emotional stress, reacting unconsciously gritting his teeth, usually at night during sleep. Among the symptoms seen is hearing noises with the opening and closing of the mouth, the child may also get to have pain in the jaw and teeth may have dental wear. Apart from this, this alteration may also result from intestinal parasitosis pinworm, and not by the state of anxiety and emotional stress that discussed above, in the latter case children can also laugh asleep Unexplained


Somniloquy, offense capitis and narcolepsy

The somniloquy is the presence of speech episodes during sleep. This is normally the issuance of unintelligible words or a set of them forming short sentences. They may be accompanied by laughter, shouts or cries. They do not usually wake the child, but often annoying to the people around him. It can express emotional stress or problem but can also be a totally normal and no clinical significance symptom.

The offense night capitis, is to make rhythmic beating of the head against the pillow or wall when trying to sleep. They may also appear guttural sounds. It usually appears at the time of falling asleep. It usually starts at 9 months and usually does not persist beyond 4 years old. Another sleep disturbance equivalent is the presence of repetitive and involuntary behaviors such as balancing various body parts falling asleep.

A sleep disorder, although rare in childhood, is narcolepsy, in which the child will appear irresistible sleep attacks that appear every day for at least 3 months. This disorder is dangerous in its consequences as it may entail such serious falls

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Jordi Sasot Llevadot
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

It is an eminence in psychiatry and pediatrics, currently heads the Unit paidopsychiatry the Teknon Medical Center and former president of the Catalan Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In addition, he combines his consultation with the position of professor of Graduate Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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