- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the back of the nose or throat is blocked during sleep. The condition is caused by enlarged tonsils or tongue or a small airway. Children with sleep apnea may stop breathing throughout the night for short periods of time. Treatment includes lifestyle changes, surgery or the use of devices like a mouthpiece.
- Insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, is not very common in children. It is often behavior-related, like changing a child’s bedtime routine. Children with insomnia may be very drowsy during the day, moody, and have difficulty falling asleep if awakened during the night. Treatments for insomnia include behavioral changes, medication or therapy.
- Hypersomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness, is a condition rarely seen in children. It is usually caused by an interruption in the sleep-wake cycle in the brain or a secondary condition like sleep apnea. The condition is often treated with stimulant medications and ensuring children stick with regular sleep schedules.
- Parasomnias are sleep disruptors common in children. Kinds of parasomnia include nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep talking and sleep terror. Parasomnia can be caused by genetics, brain disorders or other conditions, such as sleep apnea. Children often grow out of parasomnia, but if not, they may be treated with medication or by a therapist.
- Periodic limb movement disorder is characterized by children kicking and jerking their legs while sleeping. Causes of PLMD are not known and it is not usually serious. Symptoms include more than five unconscious limb movements in an hour, discomfort in the calves and daytime drowsiness. PLMD is treated by medication, but only if it is accompanied by conditions like restless leg syndrome or insomnia.