Sleep

Not getting enough sleep is common in school children. There are many reasons why children wake up during the night. Information in this section focuses on common sleep problems. You might like to also check the sleeping sound section, which includes tools for managing sleep problems

Young boy asleep in bed

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There are many reasons why children wake up during the night. Find out about some of the most common ones.

If your child stalls or refuses to go to bed at the right time, find out what you do to manage this bedtime resistance.

How to manage delayed sleep depends on what's causing it - for example, bedtime resistance, anxiety or sleep associations. Find out what you can do if your child is going to bed later than they should.

Check out some strategies for managing insomnia in children. Good sleep habits are really important for children who have problems falling asleep (insomnia).

Night terrors are scary to watch but usually harmless to children. The most important thing to do when your child has a night terror is to keep your child safe.

The best thing that you can do if your child has a nightmare is comfort them. Following most nightmares, your child will be reassured by a few minutes of comfort.

Nightmares are bad dreams that are usually related to worries your child may have. Night terrors can be very frightening and usually happen 1 or 2 hours after falling asleep.

There are many reasons why children wake up during the night - find out about some of the most common ones.

Children with restless legs have an uncomfortable feeling in their legs when trying to fall asleep. If your child has restless legs, find out how you can manage this.

Anxiety is probably a common cause of difficulties settling to sleep at both the start of the night and overnight. Find out about strategies you can use to help your child.

Sleep associations happen when your child learns to fall asleep with a certain object or activity. Changing sleep associations is all about teaching your child to fall asleep by themselves, without that object or activity.

Although noisy breathing during sleep is common in children, it may be a sign that your child is having difficulty breathing. The medical name for this is obstructive sleep apnoea.

Neuromuscular conditions are disorders of the nerves that control the body and muscles. Neuromuscular weakness can affect different muscle groups important to breathing. Talk with your child's medical team about symptoms to watch for and what tests your child may need.

Positional head-flattening may happen in a baby who spends too much time lying on the same part of their head. You can help to prevent a flat spot from occurring by changing your baby's head position when you put your baby to bed. You should always sleep your baby on their back, but from birth you should try to turn their head to a different side at each sleep.

An oximetry test measures the amount of oxygen in the blood and can be used in the assessment of your child's breathing during sleep. 

A polysomnogram (sleep study) is the gold-standard test for the investigation of breathing problems during sleep.