When thinking of sleep apnea, you normally would not focus on it being a condition a child could suffer from. In fact, lots of people believe this is a health issue affecting adults exclusively. However, that is not actually the case; not only do a huge number of children snore, some even get affected by sleep apnea. Following are some signs that can tell you if this is the case, or that you should check for it.
This affects around a tenth of children between 3 and 10 years of age. Sleepwalking normally peaks when they are 5 years old, and during adolescence, it can exhibit quite frequently. This condition is often related to confusional arousal, where the child wakes up and stays in a sort of fugue, with episodes mainly occurring during the first third of the night. Sleepwalking has no clearly understood causes, but it is one of the common results of sleep apnea. Brief awakenings are the main aspect in such cases, with the person laboring to breathe, and later moving into the fugue state mentioned.
It is disturbing to hear any person grind their teeth while asleep. Known bruxism, this issue can also be caused by a person trying to maintain an airway, which is exactly what sleep apnea blocks. The muscles in the tongue and jaw can tighten in these situations. The dangers include damage to the teeth and tongue, and while using a stop snoring mouthpiece may help, inclusive treatment is much more preferred.
A child wetting the bed at night is common enough, but this becomes a problem when the frequency kicks up to twice weekly. Experts call this disorder sleep enuresis, and it is generally seen more in boys than girls. Children with this problem are almost always in slow-wave sleep with a full bladder, and fail to wake up to go to the bathroom. Factors influencing bedwetting include infection, caffeine, stress, and other medical conditions, such as sleep apnea.
Unless a child is carrying a fever, he or her waking up covered in sweat is not a normal thing. If the sheets are soaked through, it may point to your child struggling to breathe normally. This works a lot like aerobic exercise. Sleep apnea always cuts the oxygen in blood by depriving the body of air. It could easily cause heavy sweating and make the child wake up all hot and stuffy.
Tossing and turning during sleep is something adults normally do; children are supposed to sleep like logs. A child who is restless during sleep may be having trouble breathing. Check the covers, and if you see they are on the floor twisted into a huge ball, it means your child is not sleeping well. Unusual sleep positions can invite sleep apnea, and your child may be constantly trying to adjust the placement of his or her body. At their age, it can sometimes be easier to prop up into otherwise uncomfortable positions just to hold the airway open. Restless sleep deprives them of quality rest, which makes it important that a sleep specialist looks them over.
Every pediatrician watches the height, weight, and other growth levels of each kid they treat. Based on sec and age, there is a normal range of measurements to which a child would normally grow. Genetics alone cannot ensure this though; proper nutrition and nurture are required. A child who veers from this curve would need to be looked at. Sleep apnea could disrupt the emission and supply of the growth hormone. This could give rise to sleep apnea. This means the child in question would not grow up as quickly or as properly as he or she should. Proper treatment for the sleep disorder should reverse this, and place the child back on the normal growth trajectory.
Children normally stop taking naps beyond a point, and if not, it could mean they are not getting the right kind and amount of sleep with respect to what their body demands. A 12-month-old infant would take a nap up to twice in a day, a couple hours each time. Six months later, this would generally come down to a single nap a day. Otherwise, it may be a sign that sleep apnea has set in. Children wanting to nap during the day should make you think of this possibility, as should excessive daytime sleepiness.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is common in children, but it could also be a result of sleep apnea. These kids are unable to easily focus on single topics, behave erratically, fail to control their impulses, and forget things often. This could be detrimental to performance at school. Kids often react to sleep deprivation by becoming hyperactive, instead of sleepy like most adults.