Sleep Disorders

To find patient care programs and faculty treating sleep disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, please see the right-hand column below. Additional helpful information, including definitions, symptoms, Institute press releases, Potential magazine articles, and other resources outside the Institute, have also been provided for readers on this page.

Sleep Disorders Overview:

Sleep is an important activity of the developing brain. Although long under-appreciated, it is now known that sleep problems can cause difficulties learning, with attention/concentration and even health problems. Sleep problems are now being recognized as more and more common. Sleep disorders are common in typically developing individuals, and they are probably even more common in individuals with developmental disabilities. Parents of children with developmental disabilities often recognize sleep problems as being one of their greatest concerns.

While some sleep problems can be diagnosed and treated medically, many have environmental and behavioral causes and solutions.

The most common types of sleep problems encountered in children and adolescents include resisting going to bed, difficulty falling asleep, frequent nighttime awakenings, too much napping during the day, trouble going back to sleep after awakening, night terrors, sleep walking/talking and difficulty waking up in the morning.

Treatments for environmentally and behaviorally based sleep problems typically require careful examination and record keeping of daily habits and routines related to bedtime, diet, meal and activity schedules, noise, stimulation and stress. Most treatments require making gradual but consistent changes in the routines and activities of daily living along with the use of basic child behavior management strategies.