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Sleep Disorders in Children

Hoban, Timothy, F.

doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000427206.75435.0e
Review Articles

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.

Address correspondence to Dr Timothy F. Hoban, L3221 Women’s Hospital, 1500 East Medical Center Dr, SPC 5203, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5203,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Hoban has performed medicolegal review of pediatric neurology-related cases.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Hoban discusses the use of treatments for sleep apnea in children, including nasal steroids and maxillary expansion devices, which are unlabeled.

Supplemental digital content: Videos accompanying this article are cited in the text as Supplemental Digital Content. Videos may be accessed by clicking on links provided in the HTML, PDF, and iPad versions of this article; the URLs are provided in the print version. Video legends begin on page 196.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology
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