Sleep apnoea and my child

We often think that sleep apnoea is a disease of adults, but surprisingly, a large number of children suffer from it.

Sleep Apnoea is a condition where your child’s airway collapses partially or completely during sleep and they in effect stop breathing.

Symptoms of sleep apnoea in children

Night-time symptoms of sleep apnoea

  • Snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Gasping or choking sounds
  • Bed wetting
  • Sweating during sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Waking up confused, tired or with a headache
  • Waking up to go to the toilet

Day-time symptoms of sleep apnoea 

  • Failure to thrive
  • Hyperactivity
  • Diagnosed as suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Poor concentration
  • Learning difficulties
  • Sleepiness
  • Chronic blocked nose, sniffling – breathing regularly through the mouth

How is sleep apnoea diagnosed?

The best way to definitively diagnose the problem and its severity is with a Sleep Study.

My child has been diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea.
What do I do?

  • Obtain a referral to an appropriate child sleep physician to confirm the diagnosis. Your child might be suffering from other sleep disorders unrelated to sleep apnoea (e.g. parasomnia, epilepsy, asthma, cystic fibrosis);
  • If the adenoids or tonsils are enlarged they may need to be removed;
  • Food intolerances may be a contributing factor. A food elimination diet may be prescribed;
  • Remove any possible air-born allergens which may be affecting your child. Nasal congestion from such irritants exacerbates sleep apnoea in your child;
  • Braces may be needed to help guide the teeth and jaws into the optimum anatomical position that will establish competent nose breathing;
  • Referral to an orofacial myologist to help with muscular exercises that aid in correct breathing techniques;
  • If your child is obese, exercise and a weight management program will be indicated;
  • CPAP machine may be prescribed.

Download the Sleep Screen Guide

Please contact us today if you are concerned about your child’s sleeping.

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