Child Sleep Wellness: How Is Your Child Sleeping at Night?

Why I Ask Parents How Their Child is Sleeping

TeamPediatric Dentistry

Sometimes I can just see it in a child’s face – sleeping is a struggle. In our busy lives, even the best, most devoted parents often assume that restlessness or problem sleeping is just one of those challenges that will improve as the child matures.. It may not even be something a parent brings up with their pediatrician. So, I ask all parents at a preliminary or first orthodontic visit about their child’s sleep, and behaviors that may be caused by poor sleep. It’s that important.

Sleep Wrecked Kids – Start Watching for Signs

Poor sleep can interfere with a child’s growth and development, causing long-term issues. It can literally affect their IQ scores. And because a child’s sleep disorders can keep the rest of the family from the sleep they need, it can become a whole family issue.

I have read, studied, and shouted from the rooftops the findings in the book, Sleep Wrecked Kids by Australian speech pathologist and researcher, Sharon Moore. I give this book to my sleep-wrecked patients’ weary parents with the biggest piece of advice in the book: Become the lifeguard of your kid’s sleep.

To be a lifeguard is to know what to be watching for, being aware of the signs that someone is in trouble, and how to bring them to safety. 

Obvious signs of a sleep problem are snoring, restless sleep, sleep walking, trouble waking up in the morning. Other problems, but rarely thought of as symptoms of sleep disorders are grumpiness, behavior issues, lack of focus, and poor school performance. So much of your child’s health and development depend on good sleep, yet sleep habits often go unquestioned.

When kids don’t get the rest they need night after night, the four key domains for development, physical (growth, immunity), mental (IQ, focus, problem solving), emotional (mood and emotional regulation) and social are all affected. Simply, sleep-wrecked kids can never be at their best, and neither can their parents.
- Sleep Wrecked Kids

Sleep disorders fly under the medical radar and are very difficult to diagnose. As a parent, you’re in the unique position to observe your child’s sleep night after night. The more you know about your child’s sleep, the easier it will be for you to detect changes and inform your doctor when you notice signs of a problem.

In my upcoming blogs, we’ll talk more about your child’s sleep, what it affects, and what you can do to help. Some sleep issues are due to sleep disordered breathing (SDB) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which we can address with airway focused treatments. Whether your child’s sleep issue is something we can treat or if we need to refer you to another type of professional, the first step is recognizing there may be a problem. 

I am passionate about children and their wellbeing. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep or behavior that could be from lack of sleep, please come in for an evaluation. You’re their lifeguard – is it time to jump in?