Is Your Kid Having Erratic Sleep Patterns? It May Be Sleep Disorder

Is Your Kid Having Erratic Sleep Patterns? It May Be Sleep Disorder

Sleep is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, and undeniably both adults and children should get enough sleep. But often, just like adults, children struggle to get sound sleep which can affect a child’s health in an ill way.

It can be challenging for parents to know if its normal for their child to have trouble sleeping or if its a sleep disorder.

What is Paediatric Sleep Disorder?

Sleep Disorder in children refers to a condition where a child may have erratic sleep patterns, have problems staying asleep, or may not sleep at all. This may happen due to many physiological, psychological or underlying medical conditions. Also, the aetiology, presentation, and related findings in children may differ greatly from those found in adults.

Additionally, paediatric sleep is significantly influenced by children’s developmental factors, as is the case with early childhood insomnia and adolescent delayed sleep phase syndrome.

In this article, we will discuss various sleep problems, their symptoms and the possibility of treatment for the same.

Sleep Disorder Fact

Research says about 25 to 50% of children and 40% of adolescents face sleep disorders.

What are the signs of Sleep Disorders in a child?

  • Your kid may spend hours in bed sleeplessly.
  • Even at night, they sleep for only around 90 minutes at a time.
  • At night, they complain of itchy legs.
  • Your kid snores a lot.

What are the various types of Sleep Disorders in children?




Child Insomnia

When a child has trouble falling and staying asleep at least three days a week.

  • Compulsorily needs the assistance of a parent, object or toy to go to bed.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

The Delayed sleep phase syndrome (Sleepy teen syndrome) is an exaggerated version of the circadian rhythm shift that normally takes place in late childhood or early adolescence.

  • Prevents children from falling or staying asleep until two or more hours beyond their typical bedtime.

  • On the weekends, such kids have a tendency to sleep much later than usual.


A toddler or adolescent with Hypersomnia is very sleepy during the day. Narcolepsy, a neurological condition, can also lead to Hypersomnia.

  • Temporary loss of muscle control, hallucinations, epilepsy, and concussions can cause this sleep disorder.


Younger children frequently experience unwanted bodily occurrences or sensations known as Parasomnias. This happens when they drift off to sleep while they are in deep or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or as they awaken from non-REM sleep.

  • Sleepwalking

  • Awake but in a confused state

  • Sleep terrors

  • Getting frightened at midnight.

  • Sometimes, unable to move head, body or limbs between the period of wakefulness and sleep.

Movement Disorders

Movement disorders are neurological illnesses that result in uncomfortable leg sensations and an intense urge to move. For e.g.; restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder.

  • This sleep disorder turns worse at night.

  • Both syndromes may occur together.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Children who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea have trouble breathing while they are asleep.

  • Frequently getting awakened throughout the night snoring or wanting a grasp of air.

  • Mostly children with neuromuscular disorders experience this.

Behaviourial and Mental Health Disorders or Insomnia

Such sleep disturbances may emerge in kids with mental health issues or behavioural disorders like autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  • Children with anxiety, mood disorders or medications for these may have this type of sleep problem.

When does Sleep Disorder treatment become necessary?

When a child constantly sleeps poorly, he/she may tend to become cranky, moody, drowsy, forgetful, and ultimately develop a weak immune system and an adversely-affected emotional and physical health.

If your child has a night of terrible sleep, try having a conversation with them in the morning. If he/she can recall having a nightmare, explain to them that the images are not real.

If your child has never remembered sleepwalking or having night terrors, this may indicate a medical problem that needs to be treated.

If these incidents occur persistently and if your attempts to improve their sleep have failed, speak with a healthcare expert; especially a Paediatric Neurologist about the sleep disorder episodes.

He can:

  • Assist you in developing a sleep improvement plan for your kid that you can carry out at home
  • Identify an underlying medical condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • Refer your child to the right specialists if required.

Where can you find the best consultation for your child’s sleep disorders?

A Paediatric Neurologist can prove to be the best for sleep disorder treatment. Dr Arif Khan is a prominent name in the field of paediatric neurology in Dubai.

He has vast experience in dealing with behavioural psychology and sleep disorders of children. He meticulously works with children and their families to plan an apt treatment. In other cases, he may recommend medications or supplements to treat a specific sleep disorder or underlying condition.

Book an appointment for an appropriate diagnosis of your child’s sleep issues.