Sleep Disorders In Toddlers – Types, Causes & Treatments

Bringing up a baby can be a delightful, yet confusing process, especially for a first time mom. The highs and lows of parenting can be new to you, and you may not exactly know how to differentiate between what’s okay and what’s not with your baby.

As babies grow, they undergo changes in their sleep patterns. Once they turn into toddlers, they experience disturbed sleeping patterns. But is toddler sleep disorders something you can ignore, or should you be paying attention to it? Read on to find out more about sleeping disorders in toddlers and how you can treat them.

Common Types Of Sleep Disorders In Toddlers:

There are two major categories that sleep disorders are usually classified into – dyssomnias and parasomnias.

When it comes to toddlers and children, dyssomnias may include sleep disorders such as:

    • Sleep onset problems.
    • Snoring.
    • Obstructive sleep apnea.
    • Insufficient sleep.
    • Limit setting sleep disorder.

Some common examples of parasomnias in toddlers include conditions such as:

  • Night terrors.
  • Sleepwalking.
  • Nightmares.
  • Movement disorders such as rocking or banging the head.

If your toddler has been consistently experiencing problems during sleeping, you may need to get him examined by a doctor (1).


Causes Of Sleep Disorders In Toddlers:

There are several possible causes of sleep disturbances in toddlers. It is however, important to note that sleep difficulties are often undiagnosed in children, and they actually play an important role in the emotional and physical well being of an individual (2).

  • Medical conditions such as asthma
  • Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Physical problems such as pain
  • Bedwetting
  • Jet lag
  • Digestive system problems
  • Restless leg syndrome

In addition to these, there are many more possible causes of sleep disorders, which can be best understood when examined by a healthcare provider (3).

Treatment And Management Of Sleep Disorders:

Finding your little one waking up in the middle of the night and crying can be stressful, and can impact both his and your physical health if left ignored in the long run. This is why, it is important to seek proper treatment of the condition at the earliest.

  • If you suspect your toddler is affected by a sleep disorder, first try and establish a regular sleep routine – at least for a week, and see if the symptoms still persist.
  • You could also try carrying out some relaxing activities with your toddler before sleep- such as taking a bath or singing a lullaby to calm your baby down.
  • If your toddler fails to respond to any of these, you may need to seek professional help.

Once diagnosed, your little one may need to undergo different treatments and therapies as per his condition to help him sleep better.

  • In general, most sleep disorders can be sorted out by positive reinforcements, scheduled awakenings and other techniques.
  • In some cases, the doctor may also suggest the use of certain medications or supplements.
  • In cases where your toddler is experiencing sleeping troubles due to allergies, you may need to seek the help of an allergist.
  • Toddlers affected by obstructive sleep apnea may need to undergo a therapy known as continuous positive airway pressure therapy to help them sleep better.
  • In rare cases, your toddler may also need to undergo a surgery, or have to visit an ENT specialist to seek help for his condition.

Establishing normal sleep is essential in toddlers, since it largely affects their growth and development. With the correct approach and treatment, your toddler can easily have a good night’s sleep (4).

Did this article help you figure out your toddler sleeping disorders, or help you manage it better? Share your experiences with us in the comments box below.

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