FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In Health Watch, a UCSF Fresno doctor is leading an important global study on children's sleep behavior.
For years, according to doctors, parents would bring their children into sleep clinics to find out why they were sleepy during the day -- despite appearing to fall asleep quickly at night.
It prompted Dr. Lourdes DelRosso to investigate and conduct a children's sleep study.
In 2020, the UCSF Fresno sleep specialist and several international sleep researchers identified a new sleep disorder in children -- restless sleep disorder.
"This was very good news for all the pediatric sleep community, because now we have the opportunity to help parents to identify another disorder and to provide a treatment option," said Dr. DelRosso.
The study created criteria for RSD, which includes tossing and turning throughout the night.
"We found that about five movements per hour, in comparison to other children that did not move as much," she explained.
The research also shows an iron deficiency in those with RSD, but once the child started taking iron supplements there were fewer restless nights.
"It made a whole world of difference, and parents would notice that children would sleep better and they will do better in school," Dr. DelRosso said.
Her research into the disorder continues at UCSF Fresno's University Sleep and Pulmonary Associates in northeast Fresno.
She recruits many patients in the Valley, who come in for a sleep study.
Dr. DelRossa said, so far, research has shown the amount of sleep a child gets doesn't matter. The quality of sleep is what matters, and it can be improved with a few simple solutions.
"For example, you may not be getting a quality of sleep because your room is not comfortable. So as simple as that you may need comfortable bedding, lighting," she shared. "If you want your child to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. but everybody else in the family goes to bed at one in the morning and everybody's watching TV."
Dr. DelRosso is expanding the research to study adult sleeping behaviors and how RSD impacts certain groups of people.
The sleep specialist is part of the World Sleep Society, which is preparing for World Sleep Day on March 15. The theme for World Sleep Day 2024 is Sleep Equity for Global Health. According to the group, sleep is essential for health. However, differences in sleep health can negatively affect populations around the globe.