Sleep problems in children most commonly are behavioral in origin. These issues frequently reduce the wellbeing and functioning of both child and parents. Childhood behavioral sleep problems manifest across age groups as various forms of difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep (behavioral insomnia). While most children experience occasional transient insomnia, more persistent insomnia carries an increased risk of mood and behavior problems, academic failure, and even worsened health-related conditions. Sustaining the intervention for sufficient sleep duration can be challenging for families thus this information is hope to act as an additional role in tailoring the explanation of management strategies to families.
Behavioral sleep problems include difficulties falling asleep at the start of the night, frequent night waking, early morning waking or a combination of these. The way a child falls asleep at the start of the night is the way they expect to go back to sleep when they naturally wake up overnight. Thus, if the last thing a child remembers is being rocked or fed to sleep, they will want to be rocked or fed back to sleep when they wake naturally overnight. This ‘sleep association’ forms the basis of a very common sleep problem in children – behavioral insomnia of childhood, sleep-onset-association type.