A person’s sleep pattern changes many times from infancy to adulthood and then remains rather stable unless there is some type of problem going on. Down To Earth specializes in diagnosing and treating child and adolescent sleep disorders, but can also recognize signs of adult sleep disorders and make appropriate referrals for adults.
The trouble with recognizing sleep disorders in children and teens is that often they do all kinds of weird things in their sleep and we don’t know what’s typical and what could be the sign of a serious physical or emotional problem. Most kids go through a nightmare phase that is very worrisome to parents, but some don’t. Some have it later than others. Some children’s nightmares wake them up and some don’t. How is a parent to know what is a problem and what is to be expected? A good rule of thumb is to ask your pediatrician first. They have good information on developmental sleep patterns and you can compare your child to others his age.
However, sometimes sleep disturbance is related to emotional turmoil and will not just go away. They won’t just outgrow that. The emotional difficulty will be compounded by the fact that they are losing sleep and are not as able to cope with the trouble as they would be if they were fully rested.
Sleep is so important that whenever it is disturbed, it should not be ignored. If a sleeping problem persists for more than just a few weeks, ask somebody about it!