Support for Issues with Sleep in Teenagers and Children


If you suspect that your child or teenager has a sleep problem that goes beyond a few nightmares or restless nights, it is important to seek professional help. The earlier a sleep problem is identified and treated, the more quickly a normal sleep routine can be restored—for everyone.

We can help children and teenagers with sleep problems.

Call us on 0333 3390115 to arrange a consultation with one of our team.

Recognising and treating children and teenagers with sleep disorders or problems

Some sleep disturbances are mild, common, and can be fairly easy to treat. Others may be more stubborn, or they may be signs of potential physical or emotional problem that could have long-term consequences if left untreated.

Some of the common sleep issues include:

  • Sleep walking in children. Sleep walking is quite common among 8–12-year-olds. Often the child sits up in bed with eyes open but they aren't really looking at anything and they can walk through the house. Sometimes they speak but it usually mumbled and unintelligible. Most children will outgrow out of sleepwalking by adolescence. Awakening the child on a regular schedule can reduce or eliminate episodes.
  • Night terrors in children. Night terrors are sudden, partial arousal associated with emotional outbursts, fear, and movement. They occur most often among children ages 4–8 during NREM sleep, the child has no memory of night terrors once fully awake. If your child experiences night terrors, make sure he or she is comfortable but do not wake the child. In extreme cases, night terrors may require medical intervention.
  • Night-time bedwetting. This type of bedwetting is a common sleep problem in children ages 6–12, occurring only during NREM sleep. If a child has never consistently been dry at night it can be associated with a family history of the problem, developmental lag, or lower bladder capacity, and is unlikely to signal a serious problem.

If it is a secondary enuresis (a recurrence of bedwetting after a year or more of bladder control) is more likely to be associated with emotional distress. If there is a source of the emotional stress for example parent's divorce, then counselling can help in this situation.

  • Sleep-onset anxiety in children and teenagers. Sleep-onset anxiety refers to difficulty falling asleep because of excessive fears or worries. The problem may be caused by stressful events or trauma or because of worrying about issues of the day. This type of sleep problem is most common among 9-13. Methods of treating this can include cognitive-behavioural therapy, which is designed to help children develop effective coping strategies to address their worries.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea in children. Although more common in adults, 1–3% of children have trouble breathing because of obstructed air passages. Symptoms include snoring, difficulty breathing during sleep, mouth breathing during sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness. In children this type of sleep disturbance is usually not serious but may require medical assistance.
  • Delayed sleep-phase syndrome. This is a disorder of sleep (circadian) rhythm that results in an inability to fall asleep at a normal hour (e.g., sleep onset may be delayed until 2–4 a.m.) and results in difficulty waking up in the morning. Symptoms among children include excessive daytime sleepiness, sleeping until early afternoon on weekends, truancy and being late and poor school performance. Several different methods are used to help with disorder.

Our specialists will be able to help you and your child. Call us on to arrange an initial consultation.


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