Is Chronic Irregular Sleep Linked to Mental Illness in Kids?

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Playing Chronic Irregular Sleep in Kids Linked to Mental Illness?

Could chronic sleep issues in kids lead to mental health issues later in life? The Doctors welcome psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli to discuss when a parent should be concerned about their child’s sleep issues.

Watch: 9 Tips to Help You Get a Great Nights Sleep

Dr. Sportelli notes sleep is "profound" when it comes to a child's memory, growth and development, and emotional health. He references a study that found a link between chronic sleep issues and higher rates of mental health issues. But, he warns sleep problems occur in around 25 to 50 percent of young people, while a psychosis only occurs in around 7 to 10 percent of people. 

He also notes that if someone is experiencing a mental health issue, that poor sleep will likely also occur and sleep issues will make the symptoms of the mental illness worse. 

So when should parents be concerned about a child's sleep problems?

Dr. Sportelli says if kids are having trouble with any of the following:

  • Falling asleep
  • Staying asleep
  • Sleepwalking
  • Sleep talking
  • Breathing issues while sleeping 
  • Extreme snoring

Parents should first have the child evaluated by their pediatrician to determine the best treatment.

Watch: Is Sleeping with Your TV on Causing You to Gain Weight?

Should parents ever consider putting their children on sleep medications? Find out what Dr. Sportelli suggest doing and what he says to avoid, in the video.

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