Quality sleep is an essential part of your child’s development. In fact, studies have shown that kids who get good sleep have better mental and physical health, as well as improved attention, learning, and memory, according to Johns Hopkins.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why your child’s sleep can be interrupted. Figuring out that cause can often be a frustrating process, especially when there is a medical condition involved.
One commonly overlooked condition that could be causing your child to lose sleep is pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which your child’s breathing is partially or completely blocked during sleep, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Besides the loss of sleep, this disorder can result in other serious complications, including stunted growth, heart problem, or even death.
Unfortunately, there is no one sign that sleep apnea is the cause of your child’s fitful nights. Instead, there is a range of symptoms that you should be on the lookout for, including include snoring, sleep terrors, pauses in breathing, mouth breathing, sweating, bet-wetting, and snorting, coughing, or choking at night.
During the day, there are multiple effects of sleep apnea that can manifest. These side effects include poor performance in school, short attention spans, learning, and behavioral problems, poor weight gain, and instances of hyperactivity, according to the CDC.
Your child may also be more at risk for sleep apnea if they are obese, have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, have abnormalities in the skull or face or low birth weight, or if they have a condition such as down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or sickle cell disease. If your family has a history of sleep apnea, your child may also be more at risk for the disorder.
Testing can help you figure out if your child is suffering from sleep apnea. And once a diagnosis has been given, the good news is there are several treatments available that can help get your child a full night’s rest night after night. Some of the treatment options include:
- Medications such as topical nasal steroids
- Removal of tonsils and adenoids
- Positive airway pressure therapy
- Oral appliances such as dental devices or mouthpieces, as well as devices that help to expand the palate or nasal passage
Don’t let these options overwhelm you. Your healthcare providers, including the experienced team at Lakewood Orthodontic Office, will be able to help you decide on the best course of treatment for your child or anyone in your family struggling with sleep apnea.