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Sleep disorders

tate of consciousness and a natural process that plays a very important role in brain development from a very young age. This is considered a state of physical and brain “inactivity”, where the body and brain are “turned off” to rest and process waking activities.

When sleeping, both the baby and the adult go through different sleep cycles.

Stages of sleep

The dream is divided into 5 stages.

Stage 1: This stage is also known as light sleep. In this stage, an individual can wake up very easily, as he enters and leaves the state of sleep repeatedly. It is common for some sensations to be activated in the light sleep stage, including the feeling of vertigo .

Stage 2: In this stage the brain waves become increasingly slow and the eye movement is almost zero. This stage lasts for about an hour for each cycle that passes.

Stages 3 and 4: These are considered deep sleep or slow sleep stages. Within these stages, brain waves are very slow and the body is completely at rest.

Step 5 or REM sleep ( from the English Rapid Eye Movement): At this stage acceleration occurs in eye movement and heart rate; activation of bodily functions also occurs. This is a state similar to the waking state and is the stage where dreams occur.

Causes of sleep disorders in infants and children

Cases of sleep disorders are recurrent, where parents arrive exhausted to a consultation with the pediatrician full of questions about why their child cannot sleep.

Sometimes sleep disorders in babies are linked to biological factors , for example: respiratory problems, allergies , colic , among others. They are often also linked to bad habits, for example: not having routines, the child’s / baby’s poor adaptation to their environment, poor nutrition, etc.

Children need sleep: up to one year of life an average of 14 hours; from 2 years to 5 an average of 12 hours and from 6 years 9 hours approximately.

Nighttime awakenings are also common when experiencing nightmares or night terrors , and even in older children they can be caused by sleep paralysis.

Symptoms of sleep disorders

  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Repeated episodes of nocturnal awakenings
  • He wakes up crying at night
  • You are very irritable during the day
  • Has nervousness or aggressive behaviors
  • Has unusual eating disorders
  • He looks fatigued during the day

If a child / baby exhibits these symptoms, they probably have some kind of sleep disorder.

How to treat sleep disorders?

If a child suffers from sleep disorders, as a first step it is advisable to go to a health professional, who will advise you on what measures to take to solve the problem.

In the event that the doctor considers that the child’s sleep disorder is due to some psychological factor, the specialist will recommend that you attend a consultation with the mental health professional -generally this occurs with children older than 5 years- .

To improve your baby’s sleeping habits, it is necessary to take into account certain guidelines. The baby should sleep in a room with dim light and a harmonious environment. In the event that you sleep alone, it must be in a comfortable crib or bassinet that guarantees security and tranquility; If the baby sleeps in the parents’ room, you can opt for the co-sleeping cribs, which guarantee the baby comfort and safety.

In the case of children older than 3 years, it should be considered to have a fixed state to go to bed, reduce physical activity at least one hour before going to sleep, explain to the child that it is time to go to sleep and that tomorrow will be a new day. It must be borne in mind that the night feeding should not be too heavy, as it can cause stomach upset in the baby.

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It is necessary to maintain a fixed routine to treat these sleep disorders, as this creates stability and confidence in the baby and the child.

The strangest sleep disorders

Kleine-Levin syndrome

This syndrome mainly affects young males around 15 years of age and its symptoms prevail for approximately 8 to 10 years. This disorder is the opposite of insomnia , because unlike insomnia, those who suffer from Kleine Levin syndrome suffer from excess sleep. People with this disorder sleep whole days apart for several days or weeks at a time. They can sleep 23 hours a day for three consecutive weeks and during sleep periods it is very difficult to wake them up. When they wake up from their long hours of sleep, they exhibit unusual and excessive behaviors, such as: bingeing, compulsive behaviors, increased sexual desire, confusion, irritability, apathy, hallucinations, and sometimes out of “normal” behaviors.

To diagnose this sleep disorder, physical tests and laboratory tests are usually performed beforehand to rule out that the cause of excessive sleepiness is due to a physical condition.

Exploding head syndrome

People with this syndrome experience hypnagogic auditory hallucinations. Which means that when they begin to fall asleep, or within a short time of falling asleep, they wake up startled by extremely loud noises and sensations. According to studies, people with this syndrome report that the sounds are similar to explosions, gunshots, blows, loud screams or things that break. These extremely loud sounds can often be found accompanied by visual hallucinations of flashes of light.

This sleep disorder can have side effects such as feeling panicky or anxious before and after waking up, being fired up during the day, acting compulsively, or feeling unexpected fears.

Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a nervous system condition that is associated with periodic, sudden and involuntary movements of the limbs during sleep. People with this sleep disorder feel an irresistible urge to move their limbs and may kick or move hundreds of times a night, every night.

This disorder is more common in women (especially pregnant women) and occurs in approximately 10% of the world’s population.
Some of the people who suffer from it have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others may have them every day for many years. In mild cases, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of alcohol, caffeine or other substances that stimulate the functions of the nervous system . In severe cases, this type of sleep disorder can be very distressing, to the point of interrupting the subject’s daily activities and causing depressive symptoms .

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a parasomnia that makes the subject unable to exert mobility on their body. This can happen when you are falling asleep or just before waking up. Those who suffer from this sleep disorder may present symptoms such as: extreme sweating,  headaches , muscle aches, a feeling of suffocation, a feeling of a strange presence, hallucinations, increased heart rate, anxiety and a feeling of pressure in the chest.

Sleep paralysis can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in teens and young adults. Many people have sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, while others experience it a few times a month or more regularly. Although the symptoms of this sleep disorder can be terrifying, it is not harmful, it can only become so if it negatively interrupts the daily functions of a person’s life; in this case, professional help should be sought to solve the problem.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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