This Isn’t Child’s Play

Sleeping Child

Adults are not the only ones that have problems getting a good night’s sleep.  Children are affected by sleep disorders, also.  Children that have difficulty sleeping can suffer from lethargy during the day, behavior problems, decreased learning abilities, and other health issues.  Just like their adult counterparts, children can have lasting effects from sleep disorders and snoring.  Early diagnoses and treatment is important in these instances.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is found in about 3% of children.  Benign snoring is less common at about 9-10% of children.  A diagnosis of either condition is only possible by performing a sleep study.  Sleep apnea (when your child can quit breathing briefly during sleep) can appear in a child as early as five years old.  However, it may disappear as the child reaches their teen years.

There is another surprising fact:  50% of children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are linked to a sleep disorder, sleep apnea being one of them.  The children that are diagnosed and treated for their sleep disorders have shown an improvement in their ADHAD.  Since the lack of a good night’s sleep creates a stress situation for the body and mind, it can lead to other health conditions.  Therefore it is necessary to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea in children is removal of the tonsils and adenoids.  But if the child does not actually have sleep apnea, the surgery may be totally unnecessary.  There are times when the sleep apnea can continue even after the surgery.  If the child is obese, this may contribute to the continuance of the condition.  Another sleep study should be done to see if the sleep apnea persists and if additional treatment is necessary.

It is important to monitor your child for signs of a sleep disorder and consult with your doctor to learn more about your options for your child’s treatment.  Please share your experiences with childhood sleep disorders and cure you found.