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Can Babies Have Sleep Disorders

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Sleep Apnea In Children

Help for children with sleep disorders

Sleep apnea is one of the sleep-related breathing disorders. These are disorders which include snoring on one end of the spectrum, and obstructive sleep apnea on the other end. It is an extremely serious sleep pathology in which the child will struggle to breathe and possibly stop breathing due to enlarged tonsil and adenoid tissues that obstruct the child’s upper airway. Parents will report that it sounds as if their child is being choked during sleep. Often, parents will hear pauses in breathing and children may complain of a dry mouth and throat as well as early morning headaches. OSA can lead to learning difficulties, low academic performance and even worsening attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms. OSA can lead to reduced oxygen to the brain and strain of the right side of the heart. If you believe your child may have sleep apnea, you should discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician. An evaluation by and ENT specialist is often indicated. It may be helpful to either make an audio or video recording of your sleeping child prior to such an evaluation. The use of the “sleep study,” also called overnight polysomnography, is the study of choice to diagnose OSA and other sleep-associated breathing disorders.

Why Do Babies Sleep So Much

Babies brains and bodies develop rapidly from the moment theyre bornand sleep is crucial for every aspect of this process. In the first year of life, a babys brain more than doubles in size during sleep, a babys brain forms connections between the left and right hemispheres that are important for later cognition. Many babies also grow to twice their birth weight in the first five months evidence finds that greater amounts of time spent asleep are associated with particularly rapid periods of physical growth in infants.

Not Falling Asleep Independently

What it looks like: Almost everyone wakes up a couple times during the night adults and babies alike. A lifetime of good sleep habits depends on knowing how to fall asleep alone both at bedtime and overnight, a skill babies need to learn. If your 6-month-old still needs to be fed or rocked to sleep, you might want to consider sleep training .

How to solve it: Start by revamping the bedtime routine. If your baby’s dependent on a bottle or breast to sleep, start scheduling the last feeding a good 30 minutes before her usual bedtime or nap. Then, when she’s sleepy but not asleep, make your move and place her into her crib. Sure, she’ll fuss at first, but give it a chance. Once she learns to soothe herself perhaps by sucking on her thumb or a pacifier she won’t need you at bedtime anymore.

As long as your baby can drift off on her own, it’s fine to go in to her if she wakes up at night. That doesn’t mean you need to pick her up or nurse her, however. Once she’s mastered the art of comforting herself, your voice and a gentle stroke should be enough to get her settled into sleep once more.

If your baby wakes up during the night while youre room-sharing, its fine to assure your little one that everythings okay, but have a plan in place as to how youll respond to her cries.

Dont have a plan yet? There are many sleep training strategies, so decide what you think might work best for you and give it a chance to work.

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An Introduction To The Importance Of Sleep In Children And How To Help Them Sleep Better

    Sleep is an essential building block for your childs mental and physical health. But if youre finding it impossible to help your toddler sleep, youre not alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that sleep problems affect 25 to 50 percent of children and 40 percent of adolescents.

    Understanding their sleep needs is the first step towards providing better sleep for your children. Through a combination of sleep hygiene, age-appropriate routines, and close attention to any sleep disorders, you can help your child get the rest they need to grow up strong and healthy.

    Putting It All Together: A Checklist For Coping With Infant Sleep Problems

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    • Establish regular day-time cues. Make sure your baby is exposed to natural daylight and daytime activity. Include baby in the daily hustle and bustle.
    • Establish regular night-time cues. As bedtime approaches, shift down from stimulating activities to more passive, sleepy, sedate activities. Dim the lights. And consider introducing special bedtime rituals, like reading bedtime stories or singing lullabies.
    • Tank up before bedtime. As noted above, babies may sleep for longer stretches at night if you feed them shortly before bedtime.
    • Keep your nighttime interactions calm and low-key. Be responsive, but boring. Avoid making noise, avoid moving your baby around, and avoid eye contact. Some infant sleep problems are caused by parents making too much of a fuss.
    • Watch out for intervening too quickly when you think your baby has awakened. You might end up awakening a sleeping baby, or preventing your baby from falling back to sleep spontaneously.
    • If youre worried about a possible medical problem, or something just doesnt seem right, talk to your doctor. Most infant sleep problems arent caused by medical conditions, but some are. Read more about it opens in a new windowhere.

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    Does Your Baby Know How To Self

    Sleep science has proven the point: Everybody wakes up during the night, and we do it quite frequently, even if we dont remember these wakings the next day.

    So eliminating night wakings isnt a realistic goal. Rather, we should focus on making night wakings less disruptive.

    As mentioned above, research shows that babies sometimes resettle themselves without becoming stressed or waking up other people. What can we do to promote this behavior?

    One crucial tactic, noted in #4, is to stop undermining these spontaneous acts of re-settling. Dont jump in prematurely. Your baby might actually be asleep, or on the verge of falling back to sleep on his or her own. By intervening too soon, you can create infant sleep problems.

    But can we go further?

    In some Western countries parents are advised to avoid soothing their babies to sleep.

    For instance, Richard Ferber argues that parental soothing trains babies to associate sleep with parental intervention . As a result, children dont develop their own, self-soothing abilities. When babies wake up during the night , they cry until their parents come to their aid.

    The remedy, according to this argument is to follow certain rules. Dont let the baby fall asleep in your arms. Instead, at bedtime, put your baby to bed before he or she has fallen asleep.

    In addition, researchers have found that parents who feed, hold, or rock their babies to sleep tend to report more night wakings .

    Working Out How To Meet Your Childs Needs And Your Needs

    There are many ways to meet your childs needs for both sleep and comfort, as well as your own need for rest. You might have to try a few different approaches to sleep, settling and comforting to work out whats right for you and your child.

    It might help to know that all the strategies on this website are thoroughly researched. The evidence says that these strategies are safe. And if you have plenty of warm and loving interactions with your child while theyre awake, these strategies can support your childs wellbeing and development, and also your relationship with your child.

    How can I tell when my child is ready for sleep?

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    What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem in children today. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, symptoms of sleep apnea in children include:

    • Nighttime snoring with occasional pauses
    • Gasping or choking
    • Sleep disruption

    Children with snoring and OSA often have large tonsils and/or adenoids. Many are obese and/or have an allergic disease. Sleep apnea is associated with the following consequences:

    • Abnormal growth and development
    • Antibiotics
    • Removal of the adenoids and tonsils — as a last resort

    Sometimes, nasal continuous positive airway pressure is used for children with obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP involves using a machine that delivers a stream of compressed air through a nasal mask to the child’s airway to keep it open during sleep.

    Sleep: What Babies And Toddlers Need

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    Babies and children need sleep to grow and develop well. Good sleep is also important for their health and immunity.

    But babies and toddlers can have trouble settling to sleep by themselves, so they cry. This can happen for many different reasons:

    • Some babies or toddlers cry when theyre tired or overtired and cant settle to sleep.
    • Many babies or toddlers cry when they need help to settle back to sleep after waking in the night.
    • Many babies or toddlers cry when theyre getting used to a new or different way of going to sleep.
    • Sometimes happy, healthy babies or toddlers develop rapidly, which means they find it harder than usual to settle.

    Babies and toddlers who are crying while trying to settle also need comfort.

    Its important to respond to your babys or toddlers needs for:

    • sleep for example, by putting a baby to sleep when you see babys tired signs
    • comfort for example, by not leaving a crying baby alone for long periods.

    Consistently responding to your babys or toddlers needs for both sleep and comfort is an important part of bonding with your baby and helping your child grow up feeling safe, secure and cared for.

    Babies cry for many reasons. Before trying to settle your crying baby, its a good idea to first check whether your baby is hungry, uncomfortable or sick.

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    Dealing With Sleep Deprivation

    • Establish a regular sleep routine– It may include a snack, bath, brushing teeth, singing lullabies, brushing teeth, and cuddling. It improves the babys sleep by ensuring that she goes to bed at the same time daily.
    • Create a conducive sleep environment- Make sure the sleep environment is set to a cool temperature, with minimal light and noise. You can also buy a white noise machine to block out excess noise and dark curtains to block out unnecessary light.
    • Dont use electronics before bedtime- Avoid electronics at night because they emit blue light, which can hinder the natural sleep rhythm, telling the brain its time to stay awake and alert.
    • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule– Ensure that your childs sleep schedule is consistent, whether on weekdays or weekends, to avoid disrupting the circadian rhythm, interfering with their sleep schedule.

    What Should I Do If My Child Refuses To Go To Sleep

    There are a number of ways to help children move past bedtime resistance. If the child is regularly too wound-up to sleep, implementing a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine can help calm her down and mentally prepare her for sleep. If children refuse bedtime as a means to get attention, ensuring that they get plenty of opportunities to spend time with parents, both during and before bedtime, can help. Nightlights, sharing a room with a sibling, or talking worries out with a parent or other trusted adult can help children manage nighttime anxiety.

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    Shift Work Sleep Disorder

    Shift work sleep disorder occurs when your work schedule and your biological clock are out of sync. In our 24-hour society, many people have to work night shifts, early morning shifts, or rotating shifts. These schedules force you to work when your body is telling you to go to sleep, and sleep when your body is signaling you to wake.

    While some people adjust better than others to the demands of shift work, most shift workers get less quality sleep than their daytime counterparts. As a result of sleep deprivation, you may struggle with sleepiness and mental lethargy on the job. This cuts into your productivity and puts you at risk of injury.

    To reduce the impact of shift work on your sleep:

    • Take regular breaks and minimize the frequency of shift changes.
    • When changing shifts, request a shift thats later, rather than earlier as its easier to adjust forward in time, rather than backward.
    • Naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle by increasing light exposure at work and limiting light exposure when its time to sleep. Avoid TV and computer screens, and use blackout shades or heavy curtains to block out daylight in your bedroom.
    • Consider taking melatonin when its time for you to sleep.

    Changing Nap Routines Throw Baby Off At Night

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    What it looks like: As babies get older, they nap less. If your baby seems happy with her changing schedule and sleeps well at night, embrace this milestone and carry on. But if your little one is napping less but fussing more, or having trouble going to bed at night, she may be overtired and in need of some naptime encouragement.

    How to solve it: Try an abbreviated bedtime routine before each nap and be patient it may simply take her longer to settle into a routine, but shell get there.

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    What Is A Sleep Study

    An overnight sleep study, or polysomnography, may be recommended for your child, especially if they have excessive daytime sleepiness, problems staying asleep, or OSA. The sleep study will help determine if your child has a diagnosable problem such as pure snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or another sleep problem. These disorders may require specific therapy that your child’s doctor will prescribe or your child might be sent to a specialist who may be able to help.

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    What Is Infant Sleep Apnea

    Infant sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder. It involves reductions and pauses in breathing that occur during an infants sleep. Partial reductions in breathing are called hypopneas. Complete pauses in breathing are called apneas. In infancy, the frequency of these events increases during REM sleep.

    The apneas in infant sleep apnea may be central, obstructive, or mixed. Central apneas occur when your brain does not send the proper signals to the body resulting in a decrease in effort to breathe and even a complete pause in breathing. Sometimes, central apneas can occur due to a problem outside the brain. As an example, a problem in the hearts pump function can impair circulation and the brain does not send the correct signals to breathe during an infants sleep. Obstructive apneas occur when soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. Mixed apneas have features that are suggestive of central and obstructive cause.

    Premature infants tend to have more REM sleep than full-term infants. As a result, premature infants tend to have more sleep-related breathing disorder and apneas. The majority of apneas that occur in small premature infants are mixed apneas. Apneas that occur in larger premature infants and full-term infants tend to be central apneas.

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    Why Is Sleep Important For Children

    Sleep plays a crucial role in the development of young minds. In addition to having a direct effect on happiness, research shows that sleep impacts alertness and attention, cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, vocabulary acquisition, and learning and memory. Sleep also has important effects on growth, especially in early infancy. In toddlers, napping appears to be necessary for memory consolidation, executive attention, and motor skill development.

    Is My Teens Phone Keeping Her Up

    My son sleeps better on his side or tummy, but I’m scared of SIDS. What can I do?

    It may be. Late-night smartphone use is consistently associated with poor sleep in children and adults alike teens may be especially susceptible because their heightened desire for social approval and interaction may lead them to repeatedly check social networking sites for updates or to text friends late into the night. Using phones while in bed has also been associated with an increased risk of depressed mood and lower self-esteem, though its unclear whether such associations are correlational or the result of cause-and-effect.

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    Thought Challenging In Cbt

    The cognitive aspects of CBT include thought challengingotherwise known as cognitive restructuringin which you challenge the negative thinking patterns that contribute to your sleep problems, replacing them with more positive, realistic thoughts. The idea is that if you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel, and ultimately how you sleep.

    This involves three steps:

    1. Identifying your negative thoughts. If you have a sleep disorder such as insomnia, you may perceive the obstacles that prevent you from getting a good nights sleep to be greater than they really are. For example, you may keep telling yourself that you cannot fall asleep unless you take a sleeping pill. The more you tell yourself that, the more anxious youll become if you dont take a pill and the harder youll find it to sleep.

    2. Challenging your negative thoughts. In the second step, your therapist will teach you how to evaluate your sleep-disrupting thoughts. This involves questioning the evidence for your thoughts, analyzing unhelpful beliefs, and testing out the reality of negative predictions.

    3. Replacing negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once youve identified the negative distortions in your thoughts, you can replace them with new thoughts that are more accurate and positive. Your therapist may also help you come up with realistic, calming statements you can say to yourself as youre preparing for sleep.

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