Sleep problems are common in children with Down syndrome and are often overlooked. These can be behavioural or physical in nature (related to sleep disordered breathing) or a combination.

Bed time routines, consistent bedtime and waking times, going to bed when tired, falling asleep without parents, avoiding excitement near bedtime are some of the things that help to lessen the likelihood of behavioural sleep problems.

Sleep disordered breathing, also experienced by adults with Down syndrome, is characterised by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep (sometimes referred to as sleep apnoea).

Poor sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, impaired daytime function, mood disturbances and irritability. Behavioural problems may also develop.  

Sleep problems should be investigated by a specialist to exclude underlying causes.