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Dealing with comorbid sleep disorders in pediatrics: are we doing enough?

Author(s): Luci Wiggs

Sleep disturbance is a common problem for many children and especially likely to be present in children under the care of pediatric health professionals, although many intervention/prevention opportunities are being missed. This is worrying in view of the fact that resolving or mitigating sleep disturbance is likely to benefit the child and family, and for some children with multiple and complex problems, might be one of the most easily treatable problems with which they present. In considering ways in which sleep disturbance is commonly comorbid with other pediatric clinical conditions (or aspects related to these conditions), examples of the multiple and reciprocal relationships between sleep and children’s health are highlighted and the fact that attention to children’s sleep should be central to optimal pediatric clinical services is therefore emphasized. Suggestions for ways in which this can be achieved include increased education (for parents and professionals), routine preliminary screening for vulnerable children, the development of clear guidelines for assessment, management and referral for use in primary- and secondary-level services and, ultimately, an increased number of tertiary pediatric multidisciplinary sleep clinics.


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