Sleep is as important to children as it is to adults. A large part of a child’s physical, mental, and behavioural development can be attributed to his or her quality of sleep. However, there are many factors that affect a child’s sleep, and some of these, when left unchecked, can cause sleep problems.
In this episode of Chatabout Children, we bring in Dr. Dimitrios “Jim” Papadopoulos, one of Australia’s leading sleep specialist, to talk about how parents can help their children get the best sleep they ought to have.
After being admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP) in General Paediatrics in 2002, Dr. Papadopoulos became the first accredited Level 2 Paediatric sleep physician in Australasia. Later, he established the Paediatric Sleep Unit at St. George Private Hospital in Sydney, which continues to be the only Private Hospital Paediatric Sleep Unit in New South Wales to offer a complete suite of Paediatric Sleep Laboratory services. In 2017, their lab became the first to achieve accreditation in Sydney.
Aside from these, Dr. Papadopoulos also established Australia’s first multidisciplinary sleep clinic for developmentally delayed children as well as the pediatric sleep clinic within the Department of Orthodontics at Sydney Dental Hospital. He is also a staff specialist sleep pediatrician at St. George Public Hospital. When not treating patients, Dr. Jim teaches as a conjoint lecturer at the University of New South Wales and at the University of Sydney.
• What interested Dr. Papadopoulos to specialize in sleep
• How physical issues could affect a child’s quality of sleep
• The links between dental health issues and sleep problems among children
• Snoring and why it isn’t the only symptom of sleep difficulties among children
• How sleep problems affect a child’s development
• Dr. Jim’s top three sleep problems
• How Dr. Jim treats his patients
• How sleep apnea is related to asthma
• Lifestyle habits to teach your children to improve the quality of their sleep
• What sleep studies are and what kinds of children need them
Dr. Jim’s Questions to Ask About Your Children’s Sleep Patterns
According to Dr. Jim, parents shouldn’t look at snoring as the only symptom of sleep problems. He encourages parents to ask other questions that inquire about the complete picture of your children’s quality of sleep. These questions are:
• Did they have any trouble falling asleep? Or trouble staying asleep?
• Are they restless in bed?
• Are they mouth breathing a lot when they sleep?
• Are they developing the orthodontic changes that go with sleep apnea?
• Do they have excessive nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, or teeth grinding?
• How do they wake in the morning? Do they wake looking refreshed and happy? Do they wake grumpy? Or do they wake okay or within an hour they lost out of steam?
“Trust your instinct as a parent. That’s the first thing I learned to respect as a general pediatrician.”
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