Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva functions as the associate executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva also serves as a professor of pediatrics, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Children can experience sleeplessness or insomnia for several reasons, ranging from unhealthy lifestyles to more complex medical issues. In certain cases, insomnia in children may be caused by something as simple as poor sleep habits that are upheld by parents or guardians. A child who does not exercise regularly and drinks soda or other caffeinated beverages shortly before bedtime will likely experience a myriad of sleep-related health issues. Similarly, children should have a fixed sleep schedule, as opposed to being able to go to bed and wake up at their discretion.
At the other end of the spectrum, a healthy, well-raised child can still experience difficulty sleeping due to underlying medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, also known as sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Children with severe SDB will develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition where most or all of the child’s airway becomes blocked, resulting in loud snoring, unrestful sleep, and constant waking up throughout the night.
Typical symptoms of insomnia in children include sudden mood swings, difficulty with memory, and a decreased attention span. If an adult believes a child is struggling with sleeplessness, he or she should discuss the situation with a trusted pediatrician.