Tag Archive | "sleep disorders in children"

Treatment For Night Terrors In Children

Night terror or sleep terror is far different from a nightmare. A toddler will wake up in the middle of the night yelling, sweating and with his eyes wide open but will not recognize you. It can be frustrating and scary, but you can stop this sleep disorder. Here is a guide about the treatment for night terrors in children.

Do Not Attempt To Wake Your Toddler

Naturally, your intuition will be to soothe your toddler. But, if you wake him up, you will only confuse him and make him more frantic. Do not try to hold or shake him either. Remember, a child who wakes up with a night terror is still asleep even if his eyes are open. Be patient. Just wait it out as long as he does not hurt himself. Within 10 to 30 minutes, your toddler should calm down, fall into deep sleep again and will not have any recollection of the episode in the morning.

Focus On Keeping Your Toddler Safe

Make sure you remove any objects that he can possibly hurt himself with during an episode. Remove the bedcovers off of him. Store sharp objects. Keep his bedroom floor free from clutter. Install a child safety gate on the staircase.

Establish A Soothing Bedtime Routine

Another treatment for night terrors in children is setting a bedtime routine. The activities during the day can overwhelm and stress a toddler. Hence, it is very important for him to have a bedtime ritual to help him transition to sleep. Start by having dinner, playing quiet games (e.g. jigsaw puzzles or drawing), giving him a bath and a glass of warm milk, reading a book and end the ritual with lots of cuddling.

Wake Your Toddler Before An Episode

Determine what time his night terrors usually transpire. For example, if night terrors occur in the first few hours of sleep, quietly rouse your toddler 15 minutes after he has been asleep for 2 hours. Set your alarm clock so you can wake up before an episode and then awaken your toddler. Have a quiet chat, sing a lullaby, have him drink water, lead him to the potty or press a washcloth to his neck or feet. You can also keep a spray bottle filled with water near his bed and squirt water on his face until he wakes up. These techniques are very effective in disrupting your toddler’s sleep cycle and prevent night terrors.

Get Adequate Sleep

It is very important for toddlers to get enough sleep. Toddlers who go to bed worn out are more prone to experience sleep disorders. To avoid exhaustion, let your toddler sleep a little later in the morning, extend his nap time and put him to bed a few minutes earlier at night.

Stay Calm

Lastly, the most effective treatment of night terrors in children is keeping your composure. Sure, it can be uncomfortable hearing your toddler scream or seeing him flailing his arms but try to stay calm until the night terror has passed. The more relax you are, the calmer your toddler will become.

Night terrors normally last only a few weeks. But, if your toddler’s night terrors continue, it would be best to talk to your pediatrician and ask for other treatment options.

Posted in Health, Toddler SleepComments (0)

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Sleep Apnea In Toddlers

Sleep apnea in toddlers is a very common form of sleep disorder. This disorder is characterized by repetitive interruption of breathing during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea in children – central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea which is the most common type and mixed apnea which is a combination of the two. This sleep problem can be potentially fatal. Thus, it is very important for parents to understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of sleep apnea in toddlers.


Sleep apnea in toddlers can be caused by a number of things. Adenoids or enlarged tonsils are the most common cause of sleep apnea in toddlers. A toddler’s tonsils are naturally a bit larger than an adult which can momentarily obstruct air from getting into his lungs. Adenoids and tonsils may also become engorged from allergies.

Other causes of sleep apnea in toddlers are obesity, Down syndrome, certain facial features such as cleft palate and a receding chin and failure of the brain to send signals to the muscles to breathe.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are indications of sleep apnea in toddlers:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep (lasts at least 10 seconds)
  • Huffing noises while sleeping
  • Restless sleep
  • Coughs at night
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Constant bed-wetting
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cognitive and behavioural problems such as aggressiveness, hyperactivity and absent-mindedness


Tonsils and Adenoids Removal

In most cases, sleep apnea in toddlers can be treated through adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy (surgeries for removing the adenoids and tonsils). Your toddler’s pediatrician will recommend an otolaryngologist to perform the surgery as well as discuss the risks and benefits with you. This surgery requires general anesthesia, can be done on an outpatient basis (depending on your toddler’s health) and has no long-term and negative side effects.


CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a special machine that may be used by your toddler at night. This machine keeps the airway free by blowing air into the nose through a mask during sleep. Letting your toddler wear the mask for at least 3 hours a night can make a big difference.

Bi-Level Breathing Machine

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine is similar to a CPAP machine but is mainly used for more severe cases. It has 2 different pressures – one for inhaling and another for exhaling which allows your toddler to get more air in and out of his lungs.

Weight Management

If your toddler’s sleep apnea is due to obesity, your child will have to undergo a weight management or weight loss program. Obese children are more vulnerable to having jammed airways. Your doctor may prescribe a special diet and exercises to help cure the problem before it further aggravates.

If you think your toddler may be suffering from sleep apnea, consult your pediatrician immediately. Your toddler might need to undergo a sleep study for diagnosis.

Posted in Health, Toddler SleepComments (0)

  1. We welcome any feedback, questions or comments


April 2015
« May