False insomnia – common childhood disease

In sleep, children suddenly talk or sit up and walk, sleepwalking, having nightmares… is a sign of false insomnia – a form of sleep disorder.

During the summer break, Ms. Kim Hoa, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, lets her two sons, 4 and 6 years old, have fun and relax before the new school year. Although they were tired of playing, the two children did not want to take a nap. Total sleep time is not enough 8 hours a day, about two hours less than usual. When she sleeps, she often dreams out loud, shakes her arms and legs, gets up and walks, sometimes wetting the bed. This situation has not happened before.

According to Dr. Nguyen Van Dan, Head of Pediatrics Clinic, Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, Campus 3, the case of Hoa’s two children is classified as a group of false insomnia (Parasomnias). This is one of the 5 most common sleep disorders in children. False insomnia is common in childhood. Sleepwalking, sleep talking, irritability, and sleepiness tend to occur in the first half of the night, while nightmares are more common in the second half of the night. Only 4% of false insomnia persisted into adolescence.

To limit this situation, the doctor advised Hoa to keep a sleep diary of her baby for two weeks. Also keep an eye on what time the baby is like this to wait until that time to wake the child up for 15-20 minutes, then put the baby back to sleep. This can be done correctly in about a week, the child will be free of this symptom.

If the child is uncomfortable when being woken, it is necessary to arrange safety in the room, to prevent the child from falling or hitting sharp objects causing injury. However, this expression may flare up when the child is stressed (exam pressure, scolded by adults…) or tired.

Dan said that epidemiological studies show that Up to 50% of children have sleep problems. The most obvious consequence of not getting enough sleep is daytime sleepiness; irritability, behavior changes; learning difficulties; prone to collisions or accidents in daily life or movement; reduced height growth.

In addition to pseudo-insomnia, there are 4 other types of sleep disorders, common in children, including:

Obstructive sleep apnea Obstructive sleep apnea: occurs in 1-5% of children. The most common cause of enlarged tonsils is obesity.

Behavioral insomnia (Behavioral insomnia of childhood): occurs quite commonly with an estimated prevalence of 10-30%. The condition is characterized by the inability of the child to fall asleep or stay asleep without specific conditions, such as lying in a rocking hammock.

Late sleep phase disorder Delayed sleep phase disorder: most common in adolescence with a prevalence of 7-16%. Children have difficulty falling asleep and waking up at later times, on average at least two hours later than the common waking time.

Restless Legs Syndrome (Restless legs syndrome): in the early stages of sleep, the child jerks his legs, jerking from one leg to the other, repetitive, unconscious, cyclical because of the feeling of fatigue or leg pain. One of the possible causes is iron deficiency.

Average total sleep time of children by age, according to the authors Iglowstein I, Jenni OG, Molinari L, Largo RH.

Sleep is a time for the child’s body to save energy, restore normal processes, promote height growth and support brain development. Sleep changes dramatically during the first few years of life, along with a child’s maturation and physical development. “The large variation in sleep behavior among children may be due to cultural or genetic differences,” said Dr.

Newborns require the greatest total sleep time and have a sporadic sleep-wake pattern. Starting at 5 months of age, babies will sleep for longer periods of time. In addition, breastfed babies had more frequent awakenings, shorter sleep duration, and slightly shorter total sleep time. As children get older, nighttime sleep lengthens gradually and total daytime sleep time decreases.

In order for children to have a good night’s sleep, Doctor Dan recommends that parents guide their children to do so “sleep hygiene”. Specifically, the first thing is to start building the habit of putting children to bed on time (should sleep before 10pm). Adults shouldn’t let children “bargain” for more drinks or read stories after it’s officially bedtime.

In addition, the bedroom should be ventilated, quiet, turn off the electricity, avoid exposure to light-emitting devices such as phones, computers, iPads, televisions about 1-2 hours before sleeping. You should draw the curtains to make sure the room is dark enough because when there is light, the body will not secrete melatonin – an important hormone for sleep.

Young children should sleep in a crib or bed that won’t be rocked while sleeping. If a child has to be rocked to sleep, the child will not learn to fall asleep without help. Falling asleep on your own or getting back to sleep on your own is a skill a child can learn. It is normal for babies to wake up during the night. Adults even wake up for a few minutes several times each night.

Parents should clean the child’s body before sleeping, should not feed the child before sleeping, when the child sleeps, do not give milk to the child because when breastfeeding, the child must wake up, sleep will not be continuous.

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