Sleep Disorders In Children, Babies and Toddlers

Latest update: October 8, 2020

Author Name: Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Is one of the common types of sleep disorders in children troubling your toddler or baby? Recognize and treat night terrors, sleepwalking, bedwetting, narcolepsy and apnea early on.

There are two types of disorders you may see in your baby or toddler: behavioral problems (simply learning to settle well and keep asleep) and primary disorders (issues that require specific attention).

Behavioral problems

Behavioral sleep problems are the most common and harmless type: difficulty falling asleep or self soothing, difficulty staying asleep or sleeping through the night and unnecessary frequent night waking.

We usually don't think of these as true disorders, because they are a normal phase in child / baby development. But, they can disrupt your family life quite badly and, without good guidance, a child may grow into a lifetime of poor sleeping, leading to poor health.

That's why it is so important to gently guide your child with a suitable bedtime method.

Primary disorders in children

There are only a number of sleep disorders young children get.

Night terrors
, bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), sleep walking (somnambulism) and talking (somniloquy) are the so-called parasomnia. They are almost always due to immature development and most children grow out of them without treatment.

Apnea in children and babies and narcolepsy are less common but more serious issues and usually require medical treatment.

See the list and definitions of sleeping disorders for clarification.

When you suspect that your child has a primary disorder, it is important to recognize it through a sleep disorder evaluation and then to find a correct remedy or treatment.