Common types of sleep disturbances in infants and children include:
- Bedtime Refusal
Resistance, protests, tantrums, delaying tactics at bedtime
- Delayed Sleep Onset
Prolonged period (generally longer than 15 minutes) between being placed in cot / bed and falling asleep.
- Frequent and Prolonged Night Waking
Waking during the night and signaling to the parent
and /or being unable to re-settle alone.
- Early Morning Waking
Waking before an acceptable but realistic time for parents which also results in the child getting insufficient sleep at night.
Child sleeping with the parents when this is viewed as problematic by the parent.
- Night Terrors
When the child wakes, seemingly distressed and is unable to be consoled. The child cannot usually recall the event in the morning but the terrors are very distressing for the parent.
Frightening or distressing dreams on an ongoing basis.
There are many factors which cause or contribute to whether or not a child will experience sleep problems and to what extent.
These factors include:
- Child temperament
- Parental perception / responses
- Underlying medical condition
- Developmental / neurological problems
- Environmental stressors
Detrimental effects of sleep disturbances include:
- Impaired daytime functioning
- Increase in behaviour difficulties (e.g. tantrums, non-compliance)
- Impaired learning
- Marital discord
- Impaired parenting ability
- General stress