Normal sleep during childhood

It is important to understand the changing of sleep rhythms throughout life to recognise and treat sleep disorders. Childhood sleep has several significant differences compared to that of adult and an old person. The biggest changes happen in the two first years of life. Sleep rhythm is influenced by internal (normal physiological changes) and external (environment, mother’s-father’s behaviour) factors. Knowledge of general physiological basics helps to understand sleep disorders that require a doctor’s attention.


Developing sleep regulation

Sleep regulation means the child’s ability to consider falling asleep as a natural part of the daily rhythm, according to the level of tiredness. Children should fall asleep in their bed, on their own, and be able to fall asleep themselves when they wake up at night.
For parents, it is reasonable to put a tired, but awake child into bed at night. Third month sleep habits predict possible problems when six months or one year old. A three month old child who falls asleep independently can also do so when six months or one year old.
Good sleep rhythm at the age of three months also indicates less waking up at night when 6- and 12-months old. Therefore, it is reasonable to familiarise yourself with information on sleep rhythms already when expecting.


Noticing a sleep disorder

Noticing a sleep disorder is influenced by many aspects, such as sleep disorder type, frequency, severity. The presence of a sleep disorder is also revealed in a child’s temperament, behavioural style, differences in their internal clock (whether the child is a “morning or evening type”), concurrent diseases, falling behind in physical or mental development, acute and chronic stress.


In order to notice sleep disorders, a general practitioner or specialist might examine

To determine the length and completeness of a child’s night time sleep, bedtime and waking up time as well as the number of night wake-ups are requested. As a rule, a child requires enough sleep to feel rested. Symptoms of “overstrain” (whining, moodiness, and hyperactivity) could also indicate a chronic sleep debt related to some diseases.


Sleep diary

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Sleep test reminder

Reminder for the client for preparing for the sleep test.
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Which option to choose? Breathing disorder limited procedure, polygraphy, or polysomnography.

More on three different procedures.
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When snoring becomes dangerous…

Dr. Heisl Vaher explains why snoring might not be just a disturbing background sound for your bedfellow.
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