Sleep Disorders In Toddlers

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Sleep DisordersIt’s so sad to see your little toddler struggle to have a good night’s sleep . For many parents having toddlers who have Sleep Disorders would also have a negative impact in their lives. This is especially true if the toddlers are co-sleeping with other kids or with them.

According to a study, night terrors ranked number 1 in toddler sleep disorders . This is the most common form of the sleep disorders that most children experience. Parents whose toddlers have sleep disorders such as night terrors have attested that it can be very scary to see their kids suffer from a night terror. Most kids would scream and wail because of the terrifying dream that they have.

Night Terror: A Sleep Disorder That Has Haunted Even The Toddlers

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Night terror should never be mistaken with nightmares. The big difference between night terror and nightmare is that kids often vividly remember nightmares while night terrors happen during deep sleep so kids won’t have any memory of it. So, what exactly is night terror?  Kidshealth.org identifies night terror as follows:

A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but with a far more dramatic presentation. Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they’re not usually cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue. Night terrors happen during deep non-REM sleep. Unlike nightmares (which occur during REM sleep), a night terror is not technically a dream, but more like a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep phase to another. Night terrors usually occur about 2 or 3 hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But rarely, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror.

It is said that night terrors experienced by toddlers are triggered by over-arousal of the central nervous system (CNS) while the kids are in deep sleep.

Night terrors are more common in boys than in girls. However, there are also girls aged 3 – 7 years old who suffer from night terrors. It is said that these kinds of sleep disorders in toddlers run in families and can be pass on from one generation to another. But this usually resolved during adolescence.

 Sleep Disorders: What Causes Night Terrors?

[easyazon-cta align="left" asin="0471650641" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-light" locale="us" width="176"][easyazon-image align="left" asin="0071467432" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mgzgT0RRL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]The cause of night terrors in toddlers is still unknown, but this may be triggered by fever, lack of sleep, periods of emotional tension and stress at school or at home. Kids who are undergoing emotional distress are the ones who have higher chances of suffering from a night terror than those who aren’t. Kids whose parents are going through divorce or those who live with family members who are violent are more likely to experience these Sleep Disorders In Toddlers. Sleepwalking is also common to kids who have night terrors. Most episodes do not last an hour, but the the fright and disturbance in sleep isn’t healthy to any child.

One of the problems which parents are most concerned with is sleep disruption. Toddlers are in the stage of growing up and it is during sleep that their bodies and mind are working. However, if a child has continued sleep loss or sleep disruption it might harm the child’s physical and psychological development which means that seeking a sleep doctor’s advice is necessary to help address the problem. Kids who are 3 years old are more likely to have at least 1 episode of night terror each week. Among older children, 2 to 3 episodes per month is common.

Signs And Tests

In many cases, no further examination or testing is needed to determine if the child is suffering from night terror. However, if the sleep disorder is already severe or prolonged a psychological evaluation should be conducted.

Treatment

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One of the most important things that a parent or guardian can give to a child who has a night terror is a warm and comforting hug. there is nothing better than a comforting hug and the assurance of a parent that everything is alright and that he is safe. Also, try giving your child a warm milk and a plate of cookies to help him or her go back to sleep.

It can be stressful and frightening to see your child screaming and crying with fear speeled out on his or her face. To better understad what is happening to a child during night terror, just imagine yourself being tied to a chair and placed in a dark room:

Night terrors are scary life-like dreams a child may have, from which it is very hard to wake. Often a child may cry out, ask for help, thrash, kick, and scream but cannot be comforted. Because they are so deep into their dream, they cannot hear the person trying to wake them up, even though the child may look at you and seem to be awake.

One way of preventing this kind of sleep disorder is to play relaxing music. Also, kids would feel a lot safer if you stay by their side until they are asleep. It is also important not to put your child through a lot of emotional stress. Avoid arguing with your spouse  in front of your child and always see to it that your home is filled with love and peace. A child who lives under the care of loving parents will grow healthy.

Despite the advancement of science that we now enjoy, there is still no adequate treatment that can help prevent kids from having this frightening experience. However, it can be prevented with the help of family members. Lots of love, warm hugs and comforting words should be showered to the child suffering from this sleep disorder to reassure the child that this is only something temporary.

Other Common Sleep Disorders In Toddlers

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While Night Terror is a frequent sleep disorder in toddlers, there are also other sleep problems to look out for as a concerned parent.

  • Waking up frequently in the middle of the night
  • Sleep talk
  • Having a hard time falling asleep faster
  • Waking up hysterical or crying
  • Drowsy all the time even after sleep
  • Having nightmares
  • Bedwetting
  • Teeth grinding and clenching

Most of these sleep problems are actually related to poor sleep habits. Kids who are experiencing emotional problems may have persistent sleep problems and if the cause of the emotional distress will not be addressed it will never go away. That is why it is necessary for parents to see to it that there is a harmonious atmosphere in the home.

Persistent bedwetting who are beyond 4 years old may mean a serious physical condition like kidney or bladder problem or perhaps another sleep disorder.  However, most pediatricians say that bedwetting is because of the development of the child’s bladder control being slower than normal.  Sleep experts revealed that bedwetting is the result of a child’s emotional tension and emotional turmoil that require immediate attention.

Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts, experience and reaction about Night Terror and Sleep Disorders In Toddlers!

References To The Article Sleep Disorders In Toddlers:

 

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About Maria Flores

Maria is a passionate writer who works with OneWebsite.ca, a Content Website Development, Production and Publishing Company. She's also a mother of two wonderful kids, Ella & Enzo and her inspiration of writing sleep related articles comes from her real-life experience and from the stories shared with the people around her.

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One Response to Sleep Disorders In Toddlers

  1. Younglee 2013/02/13 at 4:11 pm #

    A very interesting piece especially your info on night terrors.
    My 3 yr old woke up the other night and started to vividly describe a frightening situation, we weren’t sure if she was half asleep. As you say we have her a big hug and some reassuring words of comfort before getting her back down

    Sleep issues seem to be very up and down I’ve wrote a short post about recent problems here http://dadwithtwokids.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/sleeping-problems/

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