In this health video you will learn explain the sleep problems that occur in children.
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Raena Morgan: Hello, I'm visiting with Dr. Hajal at The Sleep Center. Let's talk about children, Dr. Hajal, what kind of problems do they have for sleep? Dr. Rizan Hajal: It all depends. The children can have many problems of sleep. Some are part of the normal growing-up process and other would be signs of disease, like for instance sleep walking and sleep talking in children is very, very common and you have before the puberty age many children you have many don't walk around, wander around the house. Those are frequently very benign episodes, but sometimes they could manifest also, it could be a manifestation of seizures and that's why it's important to get a sleep evaluation for the child. Additionally, you can have sleeplessness, which is the child form of insomnia. And then you can also have a lot of sleep apnea issues in children as well. Part of the childhood you have the adenoids, and the tonsils that are big and then they start snoring and I frequently say this, the children shouldn't be snorers. They should not snore at all and when you have a child that is snoring you should be careful about what is causing that and what could be done about it. So, frequently it may affect their functioning during the daytime and even their grades at school. Raena Morgan: What about newborns? Should they be on a sleep schedule? Dr. Rizan Hajal: Newborns, should I mean of course when they are born, for the first few days they don't have a sleep schedule whatsoever. It's mainly the feeding schedule that times their cycle. But then they end up adjusting, knowing the day and the night and then they start following this cycle. Of course, any mom would want them to do that earlier than later but when they do this, of course, they follow a certain schedule and then the napping would start getting less and less and less and frequently at age four or five they lose the nap during the daytime all the way and they end up just sleeping at night. Raena Morgan: Really, so children don't need naps in the afternoon? Dr. Rizan Hajal: I think after the age of five they don't really need it. They can get it if they want to, but they don't really need it. I mean those are children that who are getting them ready to go to school and stuff like that. They should be able to handle the whole day of schooling without having to take a nap. Raena Morgan: Okay. A lot of five year olds would be happy to hear that. Dr. Rizan Hajal: The difficulty is sometimes their parents have high expectations about how the child frequently, with the first child, that they would ask us, I mean the child is like waking up now at 4 o'clock in the morning, what am I going to do? And while the child maybe doesn't need as much sleep because they change so fast that you don't notice that. But six months ago they maybe were going to bed at 9 pm, waking up at 7 o'clock in the morning. Now they go to bed at 9 pm, wake up at four. Maybe they don't really need that much sleep. They're unfortunately getting a little bit older. Raena Morgan: Okay, on a more serious note, what about SIDS? Is that a sleep disorder? Dr. Rizan Hajal: SIDS is almost like the most difficult disease to work with. We are not really sure that since it is actually a sleep disorder, it was felt to be for the longest time because those children would actually, unfortunately pass away during their sleep. But it could be so many other things. It could be genetic. It could be social factors playing a part and it could be sometimes choking episodes and breathing problems. We're not really so sure what causes SIDS, what we do know is when children sleep on their backs, SIDS gets so much less. And you cannot really basically have any unexplained infant deaths after the age of one year. Those are very, very young children that are being studied and as far as I can tell there hasn't been any research to prove that this is the reason and this is why. It's very important to save those kids when they're so young. Raena Morgan: S