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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Healthy Sleep for Children

Posted by ASC Pediatric Medical Director, Dr. Harry Yuan on Aug 25, 2019 11:19:00 AM

It is common knowledge that adequate, good-quality sleep is important in the development of children and translates to better quality of life for children of all ages. Yet, childhood insomnia is the most common sleep complaint from parents. Although certain sleep disorders may cause insomnia, the difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep may be due to poor sleep habits or sub-optimal sleep environment.

Good sleep habits include bedtimes, wake times, types of activities around bedtime, sleep schedules, sleep environment and diet. Good sleep habits are achieved by optimizing behaviors that promote sleep and avoiding those that sabotage it.

Training the mind to recognize bedtime is one method of promoting sleep. Having the same bedtimes and wake times daily help our bodies synchronize our internal clocks (circadian rhythm) with the environmental clock (time) and prepares us to fall asleep as bedtime approaches. Similarly, having the same bedtime routine nightly also signals our mind that sleep is approaching.

Other factors that can influence the ability to fall asleep are the environment and certain daytime activities. Ideally, the room should be quiet and dark. A room temperature on the cooler side (between 65-70 degrees) with blankets to stay warm is optimal. Avoid using the bedroom for any other activities aside from sleeping. Screen time on any electronic devices within two hours of bedtime exposes the eyes to excessive amount of light and should be avoided.

Exercise during the day can promote better sleep, but it may disrupt the ability to fall asleep if done within four hours of bedtime. Caffeine can exert its waking effect up to six hours after ingestion and should be avoided later in the day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that adequate sleep in children leads to improved behavior, better learning, and higher quality of life. Children with inadequate sleep are at increased risk for obesity, depression and hypertension.

The AAP has endorsed the recommendation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) regarding sleep hours for different age groups. (The listed hours are per 24 hours including naps.)

4 months to 12 months: 12 – 16 hours
1 to 2 years of age: 11 – 14 hours
3 to 5 years of age: 10 – 13 hours
6 to 12 years of age: 9 – 12 hours
13 to 18 years of age: 8 – 10 hours

Aside from certain sleep habits and sleep environment, another common cause of insomnia in children is obstructive sleep apnea.

Unlike adults, children with obstructive sleep apnea may present with difficulty falling asleep and frequent nighttime awakenings as well as symptoms similar to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as difficulty focusing, poor school performance, and hyperactivity.

In fact, up to 25 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD may actually have undiagnosed poor sleep that is manifesting the ADHD symptoms. It is important to treat obstructive sleep apnea not only to address the presenting symptoms, but also to prevent the complications that can develop in the future, such as diabetes, obesity, heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatments for certain risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea (e.g., enlarged tonsils, retracted lower jaw) may prevent the condition from returning in the future.

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Topics: Pediatrics, kids, parents

7 Signs Your Child Might Have a Sleep Disorder

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Aug 5, 2019 10:15:00 AM

It's tough for any parent to discover that their child may have a sleep disorder. After all, no mother wants to see her son or daughter tired all of the time;  and no father wants to watch his child struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep during the night. However, recent studies estimate that nearly 30% of children may have a sleep disorder at some point in their lives.

While sleep disorders can come with varying degrees of severity, the majority of them can be treated. What's important is that parents recognize the signs of sleep disorders so that they can get their child treated for the underlying causes, rather than treating the symptoms alone.

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Topics: children, Pediatrics

Wake Up to a Back-2-School Sleep Schedule

Posted by Dr. Michelle Karten, Nemours DuPont Pediatrics, PA on Aug 3, 2019 10:04:40 AM

It may be hard for kids everywhere to think about, but there aren’t many lazy days of summer vacation left. No doubt, with all the summer activities and getaways, your kids’ sleep schedules may have gone a bit haywire. But there’s still time to help get them on a back-to-school sleep schedule and practice some healthy sleep habits if you start, well, now.

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Topics: school, Pediatrics, kids, sleep schedules

How Improving Your Sleep Can Improve Your Grades

Posted by Guest Blogger, Susan Wallace on Jul 8, 2019 10:48:00 AM

"Good long sleep is an awesome thing and the best cure for anything," an Irish proverb says. School performance is not an exception:

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Topics: school, Pediatrics

10 Facts Every Parent Needs to Know about Children’s Sleep

Posted by Guest blogger, Emma Williams on Jun 12, 2019 7:44:00 AM

Without sleep, kids become cranky – and that’s no fun for anyone. Bad moods are just the tip of the iceberg, though. These facts about children’s sleep aren’t only interesting – they’re also meant to help you understand how kids sleep and make it easier for you to ensure that they get enough shut-eye to keep them healthy and happy.

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Topics: Pediatrics, baby, sleep debt

Pediatric Sleep Studies: Prepare Yourself and Your Child

Posted by Jennifer Hines on May 19, 2019 1:50:00 PM

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What to Expect from Your Child's Sleep Study

We utilize the same tests used to diagnose and rule out sleep disorders in adults for children. However, because children are more likely to displace sensors during the night, we prefer to use attended studies rather than home monitoring.

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Topics: sleep assessment, sleep and children, Pediatrics

Sleep Disorders:Causes of Bed-Wetting

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Apr 13, 2019 7:00:00 PM

If you are concerned about your child's bed-wetting, or if other symptoms accompany the problem, inform your child's pediatrician. He or she will ask about your child's symptoms and about other factors that may contribute to bed-wetting.

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Topics: bedwetting, Pediatrics

Your Baby, Colic and Sleep: Sounds Like a Recipe for Disaster

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Apr 8, 2019 4:00:00 PM

As new or repeat parents, you already are taking a lot on with a new life: feeding, sleeping, pooping, and napping are the essentials. But a lot of times, parents believe if they are unable to achieve perfection they have failed their children.

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Topics: Pediatrics, baby, colic

Night Terrors Vs Nightmares: How to Deal with Your Terrified Child

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Mar 31, 2019 1:00:00 PM

When it comes to parenting, there are few things as terrifying and heartbreaking as witnessing your child wake up screaming in fear in the middle of the night. What often makes things worse is that many parents are unsure of how they can help coax their child during this time. This uncertainty stems from being unaware of the difference between nightmares and night terrors as the two types of abrupt awakenings should be managed differently.

Here we hope to help dispel the confusion between the differences of night terrors vs nightmares and what you can do for your child in either event.

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Topics: night terrors, nightmares, Pediatrics

Moving Your Child to a Big Bed

Posted by Sally Norton on Mar 26, 2019 5:15:15 PM

Moving your child to his own bed is no easy business. I think you may have realized this at this point, otherwise you wouldn't be here. This is one of those tasks that we easily underestimate, and by the time we realize the problem of moving your child to his own bed, it becomes too late.

Regardless of whether you discovered this too late or not, we are here to discuss the best way of moving your child to his own bed.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, children, sleep and children, Pediatrics, sleep hygiene

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