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Sleep Disorders in Children


Can Kids Get Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is not unusual in children 8 years of age and older. This neurological sleep disorder causes a creeping, crawling sensation in the legs (and sometimes in the arms) that creates an irresistible urge to move.

Studies show that restless legs syndrome may have a strong genetic component. Children with sleep tremors or restless legs syndrome may have difficulty falling asleep. That can result in daytime fatigue and irritability. According to recent studies, ADHD and depression may be more common in those diagnosed with RLS. Talk to your child's pediatrician about ways to treat RLS in children.

How Much Sleep Do Children Need?

Sleep experts suggest that elementary-aged children should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Preschool-aged children should sleep about 11 to 13 hours a night.

How Can I Help my Child's Sleep Problems?

If your child is sleep walking, wetting the bed, or experiencing other sleep disturbances such as night terrors, talk with your child's doctor. Sometimes, emotional stress is the culprit. In most cases of emotional stress, the problem can be easily resolved with a few behavioral interventions.

In addition, watch your child as he sleeps to determine a pattern in his sleeping and possible snoring or sleep apnea. If your child suffers from allergies or asthma, make sure she is taking her medication properly. Again, your child's doctor is the best source for treatments for your child's sleep problems.

What Is a Sleep Study?

An overnight sleep study, or polysomnography, may be recommended for your child, especially if he has excessive daytime sleepiness, problems staying asleep, or OSA. The sleep study will help determine if your child has a diagnosable problem such as pure snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or another sleep problem. These disorders may require specific therapy that your child's doctor will prescribe.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on June 27, 2012
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