Childhood Diseases

Question
Posted by: | 2015/07/15

Q.

Can my 2 year old have a sleep disorder?

i there! How do I know of my 2year old has insomnia? Or some other sleep disorder? He was always sleeping fine ever since he was a baby- on 18months he started to wake frequently, he is a "rough" sleeper, so I thought he "kicked" in the cot and that woke him so I moved him to a big boy bed. Since then we literally had 2 nights of sleep up until now(dec to july). He used to wake up at 2:00, 4:00 and then 6:00. For the last 2 months he has been waking up at 23:00, 2:00 4:00 and 6:30. He goes to bed around 7; 00-7:30. I sit with him until he falls asleep, it usually takes 5min. In the middle of the night I also have to sit with him until he falls asleep. We have tried EVERYTHING! I dont believe in the crying method- but walking out and putting him back to bed made no change in 10 days, and he would just be wide awake from 2:00-4:00, so then I had such a grumpy boy. He is in a school and sleeps 12:00-14:00 everyday. Ive even tried the kiddy calm bath salts, massaging, sister lillians baby sleep remedy! Nothing seems to work! He is a very light sleeper, if we go into his room at 22:00 or when ever to check on him he immediately wakes up! Really do not know what method to do next, so im guessing he must have some kind of sleep disorder. Its through out the winter and summer, so temp cant be the issue, ive changed duvets and bedding things, even put his old cot matres on his bed, tried the big bear to accompany him while he sleeps... dark room, slightly light room, door open, door closed....... as I said, he falls asleep easily, but sleeps rough, restless and frequently wakes! Please help!!!!

Expert's Reply

A.

Paediatrician
- 2015/07/17

It is quite common for children of this age to wake several times during the night, but this is usually  for a few minutes at a time. Your son falls asleep well which is important, so we need to look at the possible causes of a 2 year old waking repeatedly through the night.You have done all the usual things to try to solve his sleep problem. It is unlikely that he has a sleep disorder as he falls asleep well and also sleeps well while at the creche. he does not appear to be having night terrors so that can be ruled out. The first possibility is the well-known situation where a child is patted to sleep at night or has a parent next to him or some other special routine when falling asleep and will expect exactly the same thing when he wakes at night. It is important to let your son fall asleep by himself. Extending his bedtime by half an hour will help to change this form of expectation and also ensure that he falls asleep on his own. Then there is the 'learned hunger' situation where children of this age are used to getting and continue to expect feeds through the night. I presume that this is not the case with your son. It is important that the house is quiet at his bedtime and that he is not in a bedroom where he can be disturbed by traffic noise or by noisy neighbours. Ensure that his room is well ventilated and not too hot or too cold.Finally there are the medical conditions that may cause this kind of waking pattern. The most common is acid reflux which causes discomfort and wakes children from sleep. Another very important cause is a blocked nose especially when a child snores and a condition called 'sleep apnoea' results.Finally if your son has a frequent cough at night it is important to exclude asthma. If you suspect any of these medical conditions may be present, your son will need to be seen by his paediatrician.

If you do not think any of these several  possibilities I have mentioned above apply to your son, it will help to consult a child sleep expert such as at 'Sleep Matters'  www.sleepmatters.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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