21 October 2016
Sleep Disorders Paper
There are some bedtime and sleep behaviors in childhood and adolescence that are considered ‘normal’ but there are also many abnormal problems that can arise. In newborns, it is typical for the child to wake up many times during the night. For infants younger than six months old, the amount of time spent in REM sleep is thirty percent more than adults. This causes infants to have shorter sleep cycles than adults. Infants younger than six months also often sleep during the day as much as they do during the night, which is why they often do not sleep through the entire night. However, once six months is reached, the sleeping pattern begins to reflect that of an adult’s. The frequency of waking in the night tapers from one hundred percent to about twenty to thirty percent at this time. Sleeping during the day also tapers as the child grows older, and often by the age of three or four a daytime nap is no longer necessary. By adolescence, the sleep needs are typically the same to that of an adult’s.
However, even once sleeping through the night is finally achieved, a number of problems can arise to reverse this milestone. Studies have shown that one in three children up to the age of four will wake during the night and need parent’s assistance to get back to sleep. A variety of diseases, disorders, and general sleep problems can prevent children from sleeping through the night. Parasomnias are sleep disorders that are a reflection of the immature central nervous system. These disorders are usually outgrown, more common in children than adults, predictable, not remembered by the child, and oftentimes the children are unable to be awoken from the disorder while it happens. An example of this kind of disorder is ‘pavor nocturnus’, more commonly known as night terrors. Typically, during a night terror, the child will sit up in bed and scream, and inconsolable for up to thirty minutes, although the child is not actually awake and cannot be woken from this state. Night terrors are different from nightmares in a few ways. Nightmares occur in REM sleep, like dreams, while night terrors occur in NREM sleep. Also, many times a nightmare can be recalled, while a person that experiences a night terror cannot recall it after they have woken up. Night terrors are typically caused by stress in the child’s life and a way to stop the night terrors is to attempt to alleviate the stress the child is experiencing. Two other disorders experienced are somnambulism and somniloquy, more commonly known as sleep walking and sleep talking, respectively. Sleepwalking can be dangerous to children if safety precautions are not taken, such as the child’s bedroom being on the first floor, locking windows and doors, and keeping the child away from balconies and stairs. Sleep talking is not dangerous, and typically manifests as the child mumbling or speaking incoherently then going back to sleep. These disorders can be...