European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 177, Issue 5, pp 641–648 | Cite as

Sleep disorders during childhood: a practical review

  • D. Ophoff
  • M. A. Slaats
  • A. Boudewyns
  • I. Glazemakers
  • K. Van Hoorenbeeck
  • S. L. VerhulstEmail author


Sleep disorders are a common problem during childhood. The consequences are variable, and sleep disorders can influence medical, psychological and developmental aspects of the growing child. It is important to recognize sleep disorders and to treat them correctly. We discuss common sleep disorders during childhood using the 3rd edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. We analyze the different sleep disorders from a clinical approach and provide an overview of adequate treatment options.

Conlusion: This review discusses common sleep disorders during childhood using the 3rd edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. We analyze the different sleep disorders from a clinical approach and provide an overview of adequate treatment options.

What is known:

Sleep disorders are a common problem during childhood.

The consequences are variable, and sleep disorders can influence medical, psychological, and developmental aspects of the growing child.

What is new:

Pediatricians should routinely screen for sleep and sleep disorders.

It is important to recognize sleep disorders and to treat them correctly.


Sleep disorders Childhood Insomnia Clinical characteristics Treatment 



delayed sleep wake phase disorder




international classification of sleep disorders


multiple sleep latency test


non-rapid-eye movements


obstructive sleep apnea


periodic limb movement disorder


rapid-eye movements


restless leg syndrome


sleep-onset rapid eye movement period


Authors’ contributions

Concept of the manuscript: D.O., M.S. and S.V.; Acquisition of data: D.O., M.S. and S.V.; Drafting of the manuscript: D.O., M.S. and S.V.; Critical revision of the manuscript: A.B., I.G. and K.V.H.; Final manuscript: all authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ophoff
    • 1
  • M. A. Slaats
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Boudewyns
    • 3
  • I. Glazemakers
    • 4
  • K. Van Hoorenbeeck
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. L. Verhulst
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsAntwerp University HospitalEdegemBelgium
  2. 2.Lab of Experimental Medicine and PediatricsUniversity of AntwerpEdegemBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck SurgeryAntwerp University HospitalEdegemBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Youth Mental Health, Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research InstituteUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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