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.
  • Co-Sleeping
    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.
  • Nightmares
    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


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