What is the prevalence of pediatric sleep disorders?

Updated: Oct 09, 2018
  • Author: Sufen Chiu, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Surveys report that 20–25% of youths have some type of sleep problem. The following are commonly reported in children aged 2–15 years:

  • Nightmares (30%) are more common in younger youths

  • Sleepwalking with at least more than 1 episode occurs in 25–30% of youths and is most common in children aged 3–10 years

  • Insomnia occurs in 23% of youths

  • Enuresis rates decrease from 8% in children aged 4 years to 4% in children aged 10 years

  • Bruxism is reported in 10% of youths and may occur in people of any age

  • Grinding and clenching teeth at night is reported in 5–8% of adults

  • Sleep rocking or head banging is reported in 5% of youths, with head banging being common in infants and in children aged 9 months to 12 years

  • OSAS is the most common reason for sleep laboratory referral and affects an estimated 1 to 4% of children [8]

  • Narcolepsy (0.01–0.20%) may be underestimated in children because a classic tetrad of symptoms is uncommon in this age group; only about 10% of children show all the symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis; semipurposeful automatic behavior, disrupted nocturnal sleep, sudden onset of weight gain, obstructive sleep apnea, and, especially, anosmia, should increase clinical suspicion [10]

  • Bedtime resistance in school-aged children has been reported at 15% and is often associated with limit-setting disorder

The results of a population-based study on schoolchildren in Istanbul found that decreased total sleep duration is more prevalent in boys, older children, and children with higher socioeconomic status; insufficient sleep in these groups may be associated with negative behavioral symptoms and sleep hygiene [11]

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects 2 to 4% of school-aged children and adolescents. [9]

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