Causes of Childhood Sleep Issues

Getting to the Root of Your Child’s Problem

Solving your child’s sleep issues can prevent serious health issues and set them up for success. Childhood sleep problems can seriously impact your child’s development and their ability to succeed in school, as well as with friends.

Learn about the most common causes of sleep issues in children.

Common Causes of Sleep Problems For Children


About one quarter to one-half of parents with children diagnosed with ADHD report that their children are suffering from sleep problems, too. Compared to kids without ADHD, children with ADHD are two to three times more prone to experience sleep problems.

These specific causes can lead to sleep problems from ADHD in children:

  • Interruptions with sleeping routines leading to bedtime resistance
  • Stimulants in some medications used to treat ADHD
  • Conditions such as anxiety and depression that coexist with ADHD.

If you notice any of these signs in your child, seek help from a sleep expert immediately for further diagnosis and treatment.

Teeth Grinding

Most parents would like to hear their children breathing easily while they sleep. Yet there are many who hear their children grinding or gnashing their teeth, a common problem for kids. In fact, 38% of children experience bruxism or grind their teeth and clench their jaws while asleep.

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, often happens when the child is already in a deep sleep or under stress, especially if your child is worrying about a test in school or changes in their school routine. In some cases, a child grinds their teeth when the top and bottom arches aren’t aligned properly.

When left undiagnosed and untreated, the condition can cause earaches, headaches, facial pain, jaw problems, and cracked teeth. If you believe your child has bruxism, schedule a dental check-up with a dentist who specializes in sleep disorders so they can provide an accurate diagnosis.

Allergies or Frequent Infections

Allergic rhinitis or airborne allergies are the most common allergy problems that can make your children feel miserable. They can result in a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing. Your child can also have chronic ear problems, itchy and watery eyes, and poor sleep because of allergic rhinitis.

Sleep problems are common in children with allergic rhinitis. Obstructive sleep apnea or multiple pauses in breathing while sleeping are also linked to allergic rhinitis. OSA can be caused by the nasal congestion that you get from allergy problems. Because of a stuffy nose, it can be harder for your child to breathe, which can lead to a sleep apnea episode.

Asthma Symptoms

The coughing, sneezing, and wheezing that result from asthma can make your child feel miserable and uncomfortable. Asthma not only affects your child’s performance in school, but it can also disrupt their sleep.

In addition, asthma disrupts the child’s circadian rhythm or the biological functions that occur in a 24-hour cycle. When your children experience breathing problems while sleeping due to asthma, it disturbs their usual sleep patterns which may trigger nocturnal asthma.

Nocturnal or nighttime asthma is very serious. It can leave your child feeling tired and irritable during the day and make it more difficult for them to control their asthma symptoms.

Sleep Apnea

One of the biggest problems that parents face when it comes to raising their children is sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is not a joke. 1 to 4% of children are suffering from this sleep disorder.

If your child is snoring habitually and shows signs of disturbed sleep such as often tossing and turning in bed, long pauses of breathing, and chronic mouth breathing, your child might be suffering from sleep apnea. Children with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can experience behavioral, learning, growth, and adaptive problems.

It can also lead to difficulties waking up, headaches that last all day, irritability, and daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea can even result in diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular issues, so it’s crucial to get treatment for your child right away.

Effective, Gentle Sleep Treatment for Children

Our entire sleep team is trained to help people of all ages solve their sleep problems. To learn how we can help your child, contact us by calling [tracking-number] or by filling out our online contact form.