6 Medical Issues that can affect your child’s Sleep

Helping parents and children have a good and deep nights sleep is a passion. Most of the time, medical issues are not the sole cause of your child’s sleep issue. However, prior to practicing gentle sleep hygiene, always seek help from your general practitioner or Pediatrician if:

  • Your child has growth or delayed developmental difficulties
  • They can go off to sleep but wake frequently throughout the night and it does not seem to be anxiety or difficulties in self-soothing
  • Show some symptoms of the following medical issues below. ( There are other medical issues but this blog will give some ideas)

References: Dr. Craig Canapari MD, It’s never too late to sleep Train ( this is a great resource) and Qwen Dewar Parenting Science.

Medical Issues

1.Obstructive Sleep Apnea ( OSA)

OSA means that the collapse of the upper airways, the child has to wake up as they can’t breathe. It deprives your child of oxygen which not only affects their sleep but their cognitive capacity too. If they are suffering from OSA, your child may snore, gasp and breathe through their mouth. Subsequently, their sleep may be restless. Don’t panic as many of us snore, but on the other hand, do check it out with your GP or Pediatrician.


5.4 million People in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). (Asthma UK, 2017)

Allergy Uk

Your child may suffer from Asthma if they:

  • Wake up frequently if they are woken up by coughing or wheezing.
  • Your child may have a cold that simply does not go away.
6 medical reasons that can affect your child sleep

3.Acid Reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Many babies suffer from acid reflux, you may notice that they are irritable, throw up and have belly pain. The discomfort will arouse them and cause awakenings. According to Gwen Dewar Parenting Science :

Gastroesophageal reflux is classified as a disease (“gastroesophageal reflux disease” or “GERD”) when babies it causes:

  • resistance to feeding
  • blood in the vomit or stool
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • irritability (due to an inflamed esophagus), or
  • failure to thrive.

4. Food Allergy

Food allergies and sensitivities range from Cows milk, wheat, peanuts, sesame and so many more. Cow’s milk allergy may cause baby sleep problems—-specifically more arousals, shorter sleep cycles, and dramatic reductions in total sleep time (Kahn et al 1988; Kahn et al 1989, Gwen Dewar Parenting Science.

6 medical reason that can affect your child sleep

As many parents know, some food allergies are mild, runny noses or sneezing at night, however, some are life-threatening and serious such as Anaphylaxis, more information is available at: 
http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2011_RCPCH_Allergy_Anaphylaxis%20Leaflet%20v4.pdf and for more child-friendly, I really like the Itchy, Sneezy Wheezy very child-friendly website that covers everything you need to know about allergies.


This is such a horrible medical condition for children, over the years I’ve worked with many children and families. It not only affects their self-esteem and sense of themselves but the scratching and itching keeps them awake at night. You can access further help at the National Eczema Society and in addition Allergy UK.

6.Restless leg Syndrome

This is a rare medical condition and according to RLS-Uk affects 10% of the population and is described:

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological disorder characterised by an irresistible urge to move to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations.  Like their adult counterparts, children with RLS tend to seek relief from their discomfort by moving their legs—often by fidgeting, stretching, walking, running, rocking or changing position in bed. Parents or healthcare providers may mistakenly also attribute the child’s discomfort to “growing pains.”

Reference: RLS-Uk

To clarify your child may be restless, fidgety and inform you that they have pain in their legs.

In Conclusion. I really hope that this blog helps you reflect on whether you need help with sleep from someone like me or make an appointment to see your doctor. Do get in contact if you would like to book a sleep consultation. With Love Catherine


Finally, let me reinforce again that this blog is no substitute for medical care and assessment by your child’s doctor or Pediatrician. Do not hesitate to make an appointment if you have worries or concerns.

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