Insomnia, parasomnias, and narcolepsy in children: clinical features, diagnosis, and management

Lancet Neurol. 2016 Oct;15(11):1170-81. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(16)30204-6.


Sleep problems are frequently encountered as presenting complaints in child neurology clinical practice. They can affect the functioning and quality of life of children, particularly those with primary neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, since coexisting sleep problems can add substantially to neurocognitive and behavioural comorbidities. Additionally, symptoms of some sleep disorders such as parasomnias and narcolepsy can be confused with those of other neurological disorders (eg, epilepsy), posing diagnostic challenges for paediatric neurologists. The understanding of the neurophysiology of sleep disorders such as insomnia, parasomnias, and narcolepsy is still evolving. There is a complex relation between the sleeping brain and its waking function. The interplay among genetic factors, alterations in neurotransmitters, electrophysiological changes, and environmental factors potentially contribute to the genesis of these sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Narcolepsy* / diagnosis
  • Narcolepsy* / physiopathology
  • Narcolepsy* / therapy
  • Parasomnias* / diagnosis
  • Parasomnias* / physiopathology
  • Parasomnias* / therapy
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / therapy