Bed wetting, night terrors and sleep walking are some of the sleep disorders that children experience.
In India, sleep disorders in children are considered the child's fault or his/her attention-seeking mischief. But the problem is deep rooted, and may be the cause of a hostile or unhealthy environment that surrounds the child. Hence, we gathered information that will help parents understand the real cause of their child's nocturnal behaviour. Here are the main sleep disorders in children.
There are two kinds of bed wetting that happen in deep sleep or the NREM stage: Primary and secondary enuresis or the inability to control urination.
Primary enuresis is not a serious problem, nor does it lead to any other physical problems. Bed wetting is prevalent between the ages 6-12 and it stops. The causes may be hereditary, poor bladder capacity or developmental lag. What you could do is train him on bladder control, reward the child when he doesn't wet his bed and condition him too.
Secondary enuresis (bedwetting): This could well be a serious problem that is psychologically inclined. If the child is wetting his bed after a year of bladder control, then it is secondary enuresis. For instance, if your child wets his or her bed after a night when you and your spouse/partner fight, then the child could be displaying signs of emotional distress.
Night terrors: When a child has sudden emotional upheaval when he is in deep sleep like "emotional outbursts, fear, and motor activity" he experiences night terrors. But do not wake him up. This behaviour is common with children between 4-8 years and they may not be aware of their actions when they are awake. Your child could also be stressed or traumatized in this situation. He could be bullied in school or stressed about his performance in his exams.
Delayed sleep: Even though it may be a sleep disorder among children, most adults also face this problem due to stress. What really happens is that, the child only falls asleep at 2 or 4 am and has trouble waking up in the morning, hence the term delayed sleep. Due to lack of sleep the child will perform poorly in school, he or she will be sleepy during the day and tardiness will become a part of daily life. In order to improve the sleep pattern, expose your child to bright lights in the morning and make your child stick to a sleep schedule.
Sleep walking: If your child suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, sitting on his bed or walking through the house then he is sleep walking. He will not be aware of his actions even though he seems awake and speaks, but when he reaches adolescence he will grow out of it. In the meantime you can foolproof your house to avoid any accidents.
Apnea: This too is common among adults but even children have breathing difficulties due to their blocked air passage. The child may snore, breathing through his mouth, and he may feel sleepy during the day. One solution is to surgically remove the tonsil or the other treatment is nasal continuous positive airway pressure - essentially, the air pressure opens the airways and doesn't let it collapse.