Sleep disorders and sleep problems in childhood

Am Fam Physician. 2001 Jan 15;63(2):277-84.


Sleep problems are common in childhood. A distinction is made between problems in which polysomnography is abnormal (i.e., the parasomnias, sleep apnea and narcolepsy) and problems that are behavioral in origin and have normal polysomnography. The parasomnias--sleep terrors, somnambulism and enuresis--appear to be related to central nervous system immaturity and are often outgrown. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is frequently missed in children and can often be cured through surgery. Behavioral sleep problems may be overcome after parents make interventions. Physicians can be of great assistance to these families by recommending techniques to parents that have been shown to be effective.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Night Terrors / diagnosis
  • Night Terrors / therapy
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / therapy
  • Somnambulism / therapy