Pediatric sleep disorders are quite common and often disturbing to either the patient or the child's family. As the patient matures into an adult, sleep disorders continue to be common and an important factor in development, both social and cognitive. Nonrestorative sleep can hamper a child's ability to concentrate and control emotions and behavior. Sleep disorders vary among age groups, but most can occur with varying frequency at any age.
Several disorders are typically seen only during the first few years of life, including colic, excessive nighttime feedings, and sleep onset association disorder. A number of conditions are common during childhood but begin to improve as the child ages. The non-REM sleep parasomnias, including sleepwalking, confusional arousals, and night terrors, are the most common in the pediatric category. Nightmares are also common in childhood but can occur at any age.
Sleep-related breathing disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, central alveolar hypoventilation syndrome, and Cheyne-Stokes respiration are not found only in adults but are, in fact, quite common in the pediatric population. While these disorders can occur at any age, treatment options vary substantially by age.