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Martha Jefferson Monday: How Do I Know If My Child Has a Sleep - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: How Do I Know If My Child Has a Sleep Problem?

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For parents of young children, it can often be difficult to tell if their little ones are having sleep problems. Kids can't necessarily explain the problem to their parents. But sleep specialists say there are a few things parents can be on the lookout for. The first is kids who are sleeping excessively, and on the opposite side of the coin, children who are awake too much.

Let's start with kids who are too sleepy.

"When you start to see signs of excessive sleepiness, there are two causes," said Dr. Chris Winter, a sleep specialist with Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. "Either a child isn't getting enough sleep, or there is something dysfunctional about their sleep."

Dr. Winter says it's important to give children the opportunity to sleep, but that it shouldn't be forced.

"If a child is getting ample amount of time in bed, but is still exhibiting signs of sleepiness, that's a good sign to bring them in to see a doctor."

The flip side is when children are too awake.

"There can be issues where a child is really struggling to initiate sleep, or maintain sleep during the night, and particularly if a child is frustrated or anxious about it, that would be another good time to bring them in to a sleep specialist," noted Dr. Winter.

Once seen by a specialist, doctors can help to diagnose the problem.

"There is certainly sleep apnea when it comes to kids," shared Dr. Winter. "We also recognize restless leg syndrome in children all the time, and narcolepsy is another thing we see often in children."

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

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