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Definition of Parent text Nocturnal Arousals Problem Preschool

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Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Definition/criteria for Nocturnal Arousals Problem


All Ages

Age Groups

Preschool/Kindergarten (3-5)

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Nocturnal Arousals Problem

Nocturnal Arousals Problem

You said that your child often wakes up during the night. It is likely, however, that s/he does not fully wake up. S/he may do one or more of the following things:

  • Sleepwalk
  • Toss and turn in his/her sleep
  • Have nightmares where s/he gets very upset
  • Have problems keeping his/her legs still when s/he tries to fall sleep

If you watch your child closely while s/he sleeps you may notice that his/her legs move a lot while s/he is sleeping. Some children even bang their head or rock back and forth in their sleep.

You said that your child's waking at night is starting to cause problems for him/her. S/he may be having trouble at school and/or problems with his/her development. In addition, his/her waking at night may be making it hard for you to get enough sleep. Children who have more sleeping problems than your child have a sleep disorder.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If your child spends more than 12 hours in bed, s/he may be awake for a long time during the night. Some children may get out of bed and play or watch TV. Sometimes, if your child is quiet or does not complain, you may not know that your child is getting up.
  • There are many things that may cause your child to wake up at night. These include things such as:
    • Problems with their sleep-wake schedule
    • A disease or medical problem
    • Feeling sick
    • Bad dreams
    • Stress

Warning signs that things are getting worse:

  • Your child often falls asleep during the day (after s/he has stopped taking naps).
  • Your child's waking at night disturbs your sleep so much that you have a hard time getting through your day.

If you think these problems are getting worse talk to your child's doctor, even if you have discussed these things before.

Adapted in part from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Primary Care (DSM-PC) (1996).

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