Quality sleep is extremely important in the physiological, cognitive, and emotional development of children. At different stages of a child's development sleep needs change. In order to help children get as much quality sleep as possible, parents should have a strong understanding of the sleep requirements necessary for their children at various stages in their lives.
One study found that approximately 27% of children are sleeping less than is recommended for their age. Sleep debt in children can lead to an array of consequences including inattention, irritability, hyperactivity, impulse control problems, behavioral issues at home and school, learning troubles, and overall quality of life.
Poor sleep in children often leads to sleep troubles for the parents as well. When children frequently wake in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep, most parents respond by waking up themselves and helping soothe them back to sleep. Over time both the parents and the children can become sleep deprived.
Of all the potential sleep disorders found in young children, Behavioral insomnia is the most frequently cited, surpassing other sleep disorders including breathing disorders like sleep apnea (1-3%), sleep related movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome (2-8%), and parasomnias such as night terrors (5-35%) [source].