• Reviewed on 9/10
    By Dr. Meltzer

Pediatric Psychosocial Issues: Behavioral Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are common in children and can impact all aspects of a child's functioning. Some disorders are a result of the interactions between behavior, environment, and psychosocial issues. These common behavioral sleep disorders include:

  • Adolescent sleep problems (e.g. delayed sleep phase)
  • Bedtime fears
  • Bedtime resistance/refusal
  • Difficulty falling asleep (e.g. taking a long time to fall asleep or can't fall asleep alone)
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Night wakings (frequent and/or prolonged)
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Sleep related head banging, body rocking, or body rolling
  • Sleep schedule issues
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleep walking
  • Undesired co-sleeping or bed-sharing

Sleep problems may result in daytime sleepiness, behavior problems (e.g., hyperactivity, inattention), or irritability. It is important for children to get an adequate amount of sleep that is not disrupted.


Sleep Hygiene

Many common sleep problems in children and adolescents can be avoided by making sleep a priority for everyone in the family. The following are sleep hygiene tips that can help your child (and you) get a good night of sleep:

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule every night (including weekends), with a consistent bedtime and wake time
  2. Create a relaxing, consistent bedtime routine that ends in the child's bedroom
  3. Have a comfortable, quiet, and dark sleeping environment for your child
  4. Avoid caffeine (including sodas and ice tea) for at least 3-4 hours before bed
  5. Have the last hour before the child goes to sleep be quiet time, with no rough play, stimulating activities, or electronics (e.g., television, computer games)
  6. Remove all technology from the child's bedroom, including televisions, computers, video games, and cell phones
  7. Children should nap based on age and developmental needs; long naps, frequent naps, or naps that end too close to bedtime should be avoided
  8. Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime!


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