Child’s sleep disorder

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What is a sleep disorder in children?

A sleep disorder in children can take various forms.
The disturbance or deviation of sleep can relate to falling asleep or staying asleep. Furthermore, waking up early in the morning with a very short sleep period or an above-average length of sleep can indicate a sleep disorder.

Also Nightmares, snoring and breathing interruptions as well as sleepwalking are considered sleep disorders in children.
Basically, a disorder is only spoken of when a child’s sleep behavior shows a marked deviation from the comparable age and development group.
In general, sleep disorders in childhood are common, most of them are due to changes in development and age and decrease on their own.


One finds sleep disorders large number of children as a temporary phenomenon in certain stages of development or age.
Mostly these are self-limiting and subside after a while.

Sleep disorders can also be certain Habits such as exciting TV shows or computer games before bed, sugary or caffeinated drinks and food, or a lack of exercise contribute.

Even irregular Getting up and going to bed can have a negative impact on sleep behavior. The children are then, for example, too agitated, too awake or just underutilized / tired enough to find sleep.

In addition to the just mentioned circumstances, which can have a bad influence on children’s sleeping behavior, there are also mental stress / illness or physical illness as a possible cause.

If children are heavily burdened, stressed or even traumatized by external circumstances, this can lead to sleep disorders.
It can be the same with children under Hyperactivity, anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia or other mental disorders suffer from deficient sleep behavior. Likewise, physical illnesses, the for For example, associated with pain or difficult breathing, lead to disturbed sleeping habits of a child.


It is not always easy for parents to determine whether their child is suffering from a sleep disorder, especially with the first child, many parents have not yet experienced comparable situations and therefore no experiences that they can fall back on.
The first point of contact is the Pediatrician act, he knows the age and development-specific sleep behavior and can give parents first clues to the cause.

Furthermore, if the cause is unknown, one can Help examination in the sleep laboratory, investigate the causes of the sleep disorder.
Here the children are observed in their sleep and at the same time certain physical functions can still be performed Breathing, heartbeat, etc. can be measured.
With sleep disorders caused by mental issues may have been caused Child and adolescent therapist be the right contact for parents and child

Other accompanying symptoms

A particularly pronounced daytime tiredness is a typical accompanying symptom of a child’s sleep disorder.
The children often have problems concentrating due to the lack of sleep, and smaller children may experience unbalanced and tearful behavior, which can be an indication of a lack of sleep.
Also a “Overactive” behavior, with a strong urge to move may occasionally show up in children with sleep disorders.

Likewise, a Behavioral disorder or aggressive behavior occur in children with sleep disorders.
Depressive episodes can also be considered accompanying symptom can be found in children. If the sleep disturbance is caused by snoring or shortness of breath, the typical breathing or snoring noises can be heard during sleep.

Sometimes the parents take a break from breathing.
Furthermore, restless sleep can appear, some children sweat very much.
In addition, walking around in sleep can be counted among the possible symptoms.


If the sleep disorders in a child have arisen due to unfavorable living conditions or changes in the usual living conditions, it is of course the first thing to break them down. Measures leading to a Good and sleep-promoting behavior also contribute to sleep hygiene designated.

These include, for example

  • fixed bed and get-up times,
  • no encouraging drinks or food before bed,
  • no TV, video games or cell phones right before bed,
  • a quiet, familiar environment with adequate ventilation.

The changing sleep times are particularly problematic in childhood, so it is particularly important to provide them with solid structures in order to break through the sleep disorder.
In the case of psychological stress, it must be weighed up individually which measures benefit the child and his sleeping behavior. Children can by Situations such as divorce of the parents can be very stressful, in this case it is up to the parents to reduce the child’s feelings of stress and anxiety.
Not always is this an easy task for parents, support can be provided by a child or family therapist, for example.
In children with mental illnesses such as Depression or schizophrenia or ADHD should be consulted with a therapist for children and adolescents. Possibly. Also a child psychiatrist.
Here you have to see if sleep behavior is caused by the disease itself or by medication.

Good sleep hygiene is also important for children with mental disorders, especially for children with ADHD, fixed getting up and going to bed can have a beneficial effect on sleep behavior

Who treats sleep disorders in children

In children with sleep disorders, the caregiver is mostly Pediatrician the first point of contact. Child and adolescent therapists can provide help especially for children who suffer from psychological stress or disorders.

The therapists have different approaches with which you can treat, with sleep disorders, behavior therapy-oriented therapies are often used.
With unclear sleep disorders, children are sometimes in one Examined sleep laboratory or spend the night there, being looked after by sleep medicine specialists


There are a number of homeopathic remedies that can be used for sleep disorders.

In contrast to other therapeutic measures, the success of using homeopathic preparations is not proven by studies.
Common means include Arnica, aconite, argentum niticum and chamoilla.
But also Ignatia or Cocculus and Staphisagria are said to have a positive impact on sleep disorders.

Duration and forecast

The duration of a sleep disorder depends on the cause.
Unfortunately, a general statement cannot be made.

With sleep disorders caused by counter-productive behaviors have been promoted, it can take a few weeks to months before they can be discarded or changed.

Most of the time, these must be exchangeable through healthy and sleep-promoting habits. In the case of physical or psychologically associated sleep disorders, it is almost impossible to make a prediction regarding the duration in advance, since here the duration of the difficulty in sleeping depends on the treatment or therapy and this can be individually designed.

Further information

For more information, see:

  • sleep disorders
  • Medicines for sleep disorders


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