A recent article about baby sleep problems in the NY Times caught my eye. I’ve already written about how early sleep problems in children’s lives can lead to outcomes such as an increased risk of having ADHD, but new research is also linking early sleep problems to a greater risk of sleep problems later in life.
In a recent study for instance, “children with sleep troubles [such as waking during the night, trouble falling asleep, or restlessness] were three to five times more likely to have a sleep problem later on in life.” This obviously challenges the widespread idea that kids just simply outgrow these kinds of things.
However, one of the biggest difficulties parents face are discerning the difference between a sleep disorder from the ‘normal’ difficulties people experience with bedtime. For instance, snoring is one of the most commonly overlooked signs of a sleep disorder in children. And yes, understanding the difference can be difficult, so how do you know? Check out this article by Dr. Lewis Kass, a pediatric pulmonologist who is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine.
Most importantly, the article urges parents to address issues that persist over time, and share them with your pediatrician. So if for instance sleeping is an issue at their 6-month-checkup, and also at their next checkup– it should be addressed. The article also mentions that many experts (myself included) say no sleep problem is insignificant if it’s having an impact on the family.
Okay, so we are learning that kid’s don’t necessarily grow out of these kinds of problems, and that if left ignored could potentially create issues later on in life. The good news is there are tons of resources available to parents who are concerned, just be sure to share your concerns with your pediatrician.
To read the full article from The New York Times go here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/fussy-baby-or-a-sleep-disorder
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