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Taipei City Hospital


Sleep Problems and Sleep Hygiene of Children

        As we all know, sleeping is very important for children. But it is not just about the amount of sleep; sleep quality is also very important. During deep sleep, the secretion of growth hormone will reach its peak; this is also the period when many learning contents and memories are strengthened. Therefore, attention must be paid to children who are found to have frequent sleep interruption and sleep snoring; these sleep problems should be handled.

       Zhang Yong-sen, attending physician of the Pediatrics Department in Ren’ai Branch of Taipei City Hospital, expresses that snoring may hint that the children have poor sleep or may even suffer from sleep apnea syndrome. The prevalence rate of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is about 1% to 4% among children; it is chiefly caused by the intermittent complete or partial occlusion of the upper respiratory tract during sleep. The symptoms comprise frequent snoring, sudden stoppage of breathing and then recovery, poor sleeping quality or waking up at night, night sweating, nasal obstruction, breathing through mouth, and difficulty in awakening in the morning. Patients suspected of obstructive sleep apnea will need to stay in the sleep observation center for a night to have the diagnosis confirmed by means of polysomnography. The treatment methods may involve drug therapy, surgery and use of respirator.

         Dr. Zhang Yong-sen emphasizes that daily sleep hygiene is also important for young children to have a good sleep, such as regular daily routines, sufficient sleeping time, proper exercise, avoiding beverages containing caffeine and keeping the sleeping environment quiet and dark. Avoid the use of mobile phone, tablet or computer 2 to 3 hours before sleeping, as the blue light emitted by the screen will inhibit the brain’s release of melatonin and negatively influence sleeping quality. If the sleeping problems of children are not improved, visit a specialized children’s sleep clinic for immediate treatment.