By age 6 months, children typically have the ability to sleep through the night. Children who have difficulty maintaining sleep may have childhood insomnia.

Your child may not sleep through the night for a variety of reasons, such as stress, caffeine and other stimulants, side effects of medication, medical or psychological conditions, environmental factors or another sleep disorder.

What are the symptoms of childhood insomnia?

Children who have insomnia may have some or all of the following symptoms:

•    They have difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep. They may also wake up too early in the morning.
•    They are chronically tired and seem groggy and distracted during the day.
•    Their behavior is erratic or moody, or they show signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How is childhood insomnia diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor will ask for a detailed history of your child’s health and sleep habits and will conduct a physical exam. The doctor may also order a sleep study to evaluate for medical causes of insomnia. Learn about having a sleep study at CHOC.

How is childhood insomnia treated?

If your child’s doctor believes a more comprehensive treatment is needed, our sleep physicians who specialize in pediatric insomnia will meet with your family to put together an individualized sleep plan. The plan will be based on your child’s age, developmental stage and your family’s practices and beliefs. Treatment often begins with lifestyle modifications and behavioral interventions to improve sleep habits. Learn about healthy sleep habits for children.