In this section
At Children’s, our team of specialists help children of all ages with a variety of sleep-related problems. Children normally spend at least 30 percent of their time sleeping, but many could be sleeping better. We are here to help you and your family have more restful nights.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Our specialists treat a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. Obstructive sleep apnea sometimes occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe. Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels.
Read more about obstructive sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea
We also treat another form of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
Chronic snoring is a strong indicator of sleep-disordered breathing and should be evaluated by a sleep specialist.
Hypoventilation occurs when the act of breathing is not working properly. This causes an increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) is a type of hypoventilation our specialists help manage. Our providers are experts at treating types of hypoventilation syndromes. If you suspect your child has hypoventilation please make an appointment immediately.
Our providers treat patients with sleep disorders characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. Hypersomnia may be the main condition or it may be related to another medical condition.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder caused by the brains’ inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden sleep attacks, insomnia, dream-like hallucinations and sleep paralysis. Symptoms usually first develop in adolescence or teen children.
Behavioral insomnia of childhood
Children’s sleep center treats children who have a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep. This type of insomnia may have a behavioral component as cause. If needed, we have pediatric sleep psychologists and behavioral specialists to help treat the insomnia.
Our providers treat children who have a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep. This type of insomnia may have a behavioral component as cause. We also work with you to help provide an environment that enhances your child's ability to sleep.
Inadequate sleep hygiene
Inadequate sleep hygiene is a type of insomnia caused by your child’s home and lifestyle habits. It is often remedied by making a few changes to your child’s daily bedtime routine. One of our sleep specialists will help you to analyze your child’s bedtime habits and recommend changes conducive to your child’s sleep.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome
Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) is a disorder in which the person's wake-sleep cycle is delayed by two or more hours. It's a shift of the internal clock where sleep is delayed. For example, instead of a teen going to sleep at 10 and waking at 7, he/she doesn't fall asleep until midnight and then has trouble getting up in the morning. These teens generally feel their best in the evening hours, and usually sleep a lot more on weekends than they do during the week. DSPS causes kids to miss or be late to school.
All teens have a shift in their internal clocks upon reaching adolescence, but for those with DSPS, their click shifts even more.
The syndrome usually starts in adolescence, but can start in childhood. The cause is not known, but it does occur in about seven percent of teens, so it's fairly common.
Read more about teen sleepiness.
We treat children regularly who sleepwalk (also known as somnambulism.) Sleepwalking is defined as a child or teen who walks, sits up in bed or performs bizarre behaviors while asleep. This condition is more common in children than adults and may be triggered by sleep deprivation, illness, a full bladder and periods of stress.
Sleep terrors, or night terrors, can be frightening to watch, and they are not nightmares. Your child's eyes may be open, but he/she is frightened and panicked, and quite dazed and confused. They almost always occur within two hours of falling asleep. They last a few minutes to an hour, and your child probably won't remember it at all. It can be hard to comfort your child during a sleep terror. They may become more upset as you try to calm them down. Your child may appear to be awake, but is actually stuck between being asleep and being awake.
Nightmares are scary dreams. When you child awakes from a nightmare, he/she may need comforting, and might not want to be alone or go back to sleep. They are part of normal development, and are part of your child's growing imagination.
Sleep-related movement disorders
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder where the child feels crawly, tingling or painful sensations in the legs while sitting still. It's often referred to as "growing pains." But due to the sensations, it can make it hard for some kids to fall asleep. A second disorder that is sometimes associated with RLS is periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). That's when the legs kick or twitch during sleep, which means the child is often unaware that it is occurring. They may, however, be tired as a result.
Periodic limb movement disorder
We also treat patients with periodic limb movement disorder which includes involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that occur repeatedly throughout the night and result in disrupted sleep.
Headbanging or body rocking
Headbanging or body rocking are rhythmic movement disorders. Some children find this a useful way to fall asleep. Even those children who seem to be banging their head hard are not likely to hurt themselves.
Learn more about sleep disorders and healthy sleep practices by reading our blog.
National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation is a non-profit foundation with the mission to improve the health and well-being of children and adults through sleep education and advocacy. Additional information and resources can be found on their website.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is the only professional society dedicated exclusively to the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine.