CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology:
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000427206.75435.0e
Review Articles

Sleep Disorders in Children

Hoban, Timothy F. MD

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Abstract

Purpose of Review: The purpose of this review is to examine how sleep disorders in children are affected by age and comorbid medical influences, and to discuss current understanding of how the clinical manifestations, pathophysiology, and treatment of common childhood sleep disorders differ from those of the adult population.

Recent Findings: Recently established age-specific norms are required for accurate interpretation of polysomnograms and multiple sleep latency tests in children.

Summary: Sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and excessive daytime somnolence are common in both children and adults, but the clinical manifestations and underlying pathophysiology of these disorders vary substantially with age. For example, the bedtime struggles of a temperamental toddler are associated with different symptoms and causative factors compared to psychophysiologic insomnia affecting a middle-aged person. Similarly, a 6-year-old child with obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to exhibit daytime inattention and hyperactivity as a referable daytime symptom than the clear-cut lethargy or sleepiness that most affected adults experience. This review will examine how insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and obstructive sleep apnea differ in children compared to adults.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology

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