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New Sleep Disorder Affects Children

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CBS) - Sleep is critical for children's physical and mental health, but many kids just aren't getting enough.

Now a new sleep disorder has been identified that is affecting children.

An international panel of sleep experts just added restless sleep disorder as a new pediatric sleep disorder. Pediatric sleep specialist Dr. Lourdes DelRosso from Seattle Children's Hospital led the panel.

"They are tossing and turning, they are repositioning all night. Daytime sleepiness, hyperactivity, some behavioral problems, could be the first signs that the parents see," she said.

Dr. DelRosso is also leading research on how to treat RSD. Previous studies show a link between low iron levels in the brain and movement disorders in sleep.

"We found out that, indeed, iron levels were low in this population. So, for the last year and a half, we have been working both on oral iron supplementation and intravenous iron supplementation, and we have seen amazing results. A lot of parents have been really happy with the sleep of their children and the quality of life," Dr. DelRosso said.

Emily Caveness, 9, was part of the research. She has always had a hard time getting a good night's sleep, according to her parents. Emily received an infusion of iron and took extra iron daily.

Her mom, Melissa, said "We noticed drastic differences in her sleep and her behavior afterward. She noticed too."

Emily's iron levels are now steady and her parents say she's well-rested.

Seattle Children's researchers did a study at their sleep center and estimate about 7.7 percent of their pediatric patients suffer from restless sleep disorder.

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