What are Behavioral Sleep Disorders?

What are Behavioral Sleep Disorders?

Could your child be dealing with a behavioral sleep problem?

Are you having trouble getting your child to go to sleep? Do they refuse bedtimes or get up regularly throughout the night? While this is a common issue for most parents, persistent insomnia in children can affect school performance, mood, and even their health. This is when parents should turn to our board certified sleep medicine physicians in Portland and Astoria, OR, Dr. Radhika Breaden, and Dr. Jennifer Kim for a consultation.

What is behavioral insomnia?

Behavioral insomnia is rather common, affecting around 25 percent of children. Behavioral insomnia is characterized as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which has a negative impact on sleep quality for both the child and caregiver.

One of the reasons behavioral insomnia occurs is due to negative associations with sleep, which lead to delays or strategies to avoid going to bed. If your child constantly asks to use the bathroom, to get a glass of water or read another story around bedtime, these are classic signs of behavioral insomnia.

Can teens develop behavioral insomnia?

While this is a common issue for young children, older children and teens may also develop behavioral insomnia for the same reasons: they associate negative thoughts and feelings with bedtime or sleep.

Many of them have anxiety around sleep and not being able to sleep, which leads to a cycle in which their worry about not getting enough sleep leads them to actually sleep less.

How is behavioral insomnia treated?

Since this is a sleep disorder with a behavioral basis, this means that many children and teens could benefit from behavioral interventions and strategies that educate the young patient about effective relaxation techniques, meditative exercises and other stress-relieving habits. We can show your child all of these techniques and strategies to eliminate the association between stress and bedtime.

Furthermore, our sleep medicine doctors will also work with parents to educate them on proper sleep hygiene so that they can enforce bedtimes each night and make sure that their child is practicing good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene habits include,

  • Turning off electronic devices before going to sleep
  • Creating a warm, dark and quiet environment in which to sleep
  • Performing relaxing pre-bedtime activities such as taking a soothing bath
  • Reading books and avoiding electronics before bed
  • Keeping children’s sleep schedule consistent, even on weekends

Pacific Sleep Program in Astoria and Portland, OR, provides children, teens and adults with the sleep medicine they need to manage sleep disorders and other problems. Call our office today to schedule a consultation for you or your child.

Portland Office


7:30 am-4:30 pm


7:30 am-4:30 pm


7:30 am-4:30 pm


7:30 am-4:30 pm


7:30 am-12:00 pm