What to Do When Children Can’t Sleep: Pediatric Sleep Specialist

What to Do When Children Can't Sleep

If you have a child at home, you understand that this is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. At the same time, there are going to be bumps along the way. Particularly when your child is young, he or she may have a difficult time sleeping through the night. If your child has a hard time sleeping through the night, you may be wondering what is wrong.

Furthermore, if your child cannot sleep through the night, there is a good chance that you are going to have trouble getting good sleep as well. With all of this in mind, what are a few possible reasons why your child is not sleeping through the night? Who should you visit for help? A pediatric sleep specialist can help you find a way for your child to sleep through the night.

Why Can’t My Child Sleep Through the Night?

If you are curious about insomnia and children, then it is important to think about a few common reasons why your child might have a difficult time sleeping through the night. A few examples include:

Your Child Is Too Young: One of the first reasons why your child may have a difficult time sleeping through the night is that he or she is simply too young. When a baby is first born, he or she is not supposed to sleep through the night. It is important for you to feed your child through the night during the first couple of months of life. That is why it is important to make sure you have support at home. You need your sleep as well, so you need other people to help you feed your baby during the night.

You’re the Reason Your Child Sleeps: Another reason why your child may not be sleeping through the night is that you are the reason why your child falls asleep in the first place. If your child is used to you being there when he or she falls asleep, he or she may be relying on you as a sleep aid. This can be a tough habit to break; however, a sleep specialist for children may be able to help you.

The Bedtime Routine Is Messed Up: Our bodies like to get into a circadian rhythm. It is possible that your child may not have developed his or her circadian rhythm yet. You need to help your child develop a bedtime routine. This routine will signal to your child’s body that it is time to go to sleep.

Your Child Isn’t Napping Properly: If you have a young child at home, he or she may take naps during the day. If the napping schedule is off, then your child may have a hard time falling asleep at night. Even though your child might need to nap during the day, make sure your child doesn’t sleep for too long. Otherwise, he or she will have a difficult time going to bed at night.

The need for sleep as children grow cannot be underestimated.  These are just a few of the many reasons why your child may have a difficult time falling asleep at night. It could be helpful to meet with a sleep medicine specialist to talk about your options.

What Is a Pediatric Sleep Specialist?

A pediatric sleep specialist, such as the specialist at North Texas Medical Center, is someone who has gone through additional training specifically to help children who have sleep issues. When a doctor finishes medical school, he or she has to complete residency first. After this, some doctors decide to go through additional training, usually called a fellowship program, in order to specialize in a specific area of medicine. In this case, pediatric sleep specialists have undergone additional training in the area of sleep medicine. Therefore, these are professionals who are specifically trained to address a wide variety of issues.

There are several common problems that a pediatric sleep specialist might be able to address. These include:

  • Your child may have a difficult time falling asleep when it is time for bed.
  • Your child could have trouble staying asleep, meaning that he or she wakes up during the night.
  • Your child might have a problem waking up in the morning.
  • You child may be in the habit of looking gazing at their phone or tablet screen just before bed.
  • Your child might continually fall asleep during the day, including in class.
  • Your child snores loudly at night, causing him or her to have trouble staying asleep.
  • You child may open up about stress they are experiencing due to bullying or cyberbullying.

A pediatric sleep specialist is also able to address a wide variety of issues. This includes respiratory sleep disorders, non-respiratory sleep disorders, restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and even issues related to neuromuscular disease. Usually, the first step in solving these issues is to undergo something called a pediatric sleep study. Therefore, it is important for parents to understand why a pediatric sleep study might be recommended and what this might entail.

Why Visit These Specialists?

The biggest reason why you should take your child to see a pediatric sleep specialist is that this professional could be able to help your child solve his or her sleep issues. If a sleep specialist recommends a sleep study, but there are several possible reasons why. These include:

  • The doctor would like to monitor the pressure throughout your child’s airway to see if CPAP is required to improve his or her sleep.
  • Some children may need a sleep study in order to determine oxygen or ventilator support at night.
  • If your child has had an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) as a baby, set a sleep study could be ordered.
  • Some children suffer from chronic medical conditions such as spina bifida and scoliosis that could impact their ability to fall asleep at night.
  • If your child has a variety of sleep disturbances, then a sleep study could be ordered. Examples include bedwetting, nightmares, sleepwalking, and night terrors.

There are several parts to a sleep study. These include:

  • The doctor will probably order an electrocardiogram to monitor the rhythm of the heart.
  • The doctor will also order an EMG to take a look at the muscle movement of your child during sleep.
  • The doctor will probably also order an EEG to measure brain activity.
  • The doctor may order a breathing test to look for respiratory issues.

Even though it can be difficult to live with a child who has trouble falling asleep at night, a sleep specialist to someone with specialized training who may be able to help you. It is important to reach out to a pediatric sleep specialist with any questions or concerns related to the sleep of your child. That way, you know that all possible concerns have been addressed.

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