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Children and sleep problems

January 25, 2012 2:03:16 PM PST
A new study challenges a widespread belief that children who have sleep troubles early on tend to outgrow them.

A recent study finds that about 1 in 10 infants and toddlers has trouble sleeping and they may be at greater risk of developing a sleep disorder as they get older.

"They go to show you that those children who do have sleep problems as young infants, babies, they are more likely to grow up in their second or third year of life to continue to have sleep problems," Dr. Jyoti Krishna of the Cleveland Clinic said.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital followed more than 350 children, surveyed the mothers when the child was 6 months old and again at 1,2 and 3 years old.

About 10 percent of the parents reported their children having problems such as restlessness, awakenings, and trouble falling to sleep.

A third of the children continued to have sleep problems, but it changed with age.

At age 2, trouble falling and staying asleep were the biggest problems.

At age 3, nightmares and restlessness were more common.

When talking to your pediatrician try to be specific so they can better help you to help your child.

"Hitting upon how easy it is to put them to bed, how easy it is to get the child to go to sleep, to stay asleep, daytime sleeping or napping behaviors and other problematic nighttime behaviors, as well as sleeping in their own bed vs. a parental bed," Dr. Krishna said.

The warning signs of a sleep disorder can vary. Some are obvious. Some are subtle.

A couple indicators of a possible problem: if your child snores, gets up several times in the night, takes more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, or if they often have nightmares or night terrors.

If it's a one time thing, it's probably nothing to worry about. However, if the problem lasts a couple months, it's worth talking to your doctor.

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