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
- Restless sleep
- Struggling to breathe
- Pauses in breathing
- Gasping or choking sounds
- Bed wetting
- Sweating during sleep
- Waking up confused, tired or with a headache
- Waking up to go to the toilet
Day-time symptoms of sleep apnoea
- Failure to thrive
- Diagnosed as suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Poor concentration
- Learning difficulties
- 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.