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Sleep plays a vital and often underestimated role in the growth and development of children. Community surveys have discovered that sleep problems have a high prevalence throughout childhood and adolescence, with 25% to 50% of preschoolers and up to 40% of adolescents experiencing sleep-related problems. (1) Disruption of sleep due to a variety of sleep disorders may affect cognitive development and growth, and the child's sleep problems may become a significant family stressor. Studies have shown that sleep issues are usually not addressed adequately in pediatric practice. (2) This article describes the features of common sleep disorders that present to the pediatrician and provides strategies for effective management.
Sleep architecture, sleep behaviors, and sleep problems change as children progress from infancy to adolescence. The ability to sleep through the night usually does not develop until at least...