Does your child snore at night? According to Everyday Health, about 8-12% of children commonly snore, which is a sign that sleep apnea may be present.
The sleep disorder has been linked to negative impacts on a child’s emotional, cognitive, and physical development, as well as cardiovascular health. However, only 3-5% of children have sleep apnea, so it can easily be overlooked. Here’s what the site recommends you consider in examining your child’s snoring:
1. Frequent sweating at night: The “fight or flight,” reaction of the sympathetic nervous system causes over activity as a response to the low oxygen.
2. An inward rib cage: While sleeping, a child’s rib cage and breastbone may move inward as they breathe during sleep: This is caused by strenuous efforts to breathe in as their airway is blocked.
3. Sleeping in unusual positions: In order to keep their airway open, children with sleep apnea try to extend their necks as far as possible.
4. Morning headaches: This is due to the combination of a lack of oxygen and high blood pressure while sleeping.
5. Frequent bedwetting: Several studies have confirmed the high number of children with sleep apnea also wet the bed. Almost half of children with sleep apnea do, but treating the sleep disorder does help with bed wetting problems.
6. Hyperactivity and problems paying attention: It is very common that children with sleep apnea are misdiagnosed with ADHD, which makes the problem worse. Always get your child screened for sleep disorders first.
7. Night terrors and sleep walking: Sleep apnea can cause the frequent occurrence of these activities of these sleep disorders, but treatment has been shown to eliminate them.
8. Down syndrome: 40%-70% of children with Down syndrome also have sleep apnea. When it’s left untreated, it can negative affect their mental development and health.
9. Pediatric hypertension: Any child with high blood pressure should also be screened for sleep apnea.
10. Obesity: Sleep apnea in children who are obese increases their already high chances developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. In addition, sleep apnea makes it difficult for children to maintain and lose weight to stay healthy.
If you have a child that regular snores, bring it up to your child’s pediatrician, along with any other behaviors that may be related to how they sleep. For additional information on how much sleep each member of your family needs, click here!