One of the most obvious symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. This makes it very easy to notice in your partner because it’s disrupting your sleep too. However, sleep apnea can be harder to spot in children, especially as their little bodies are going through so much growth and development, symptoms of sleep apnea can be easily missed, or misdiagnosed.
Sleep apnea is a condition which partially or completely obstructs the throat during sleep. A partial or complete obstruction during sleep can cause breathing to be reduced or stop for as little as 10 seconds or for more than a minute. The result is a drop in blood oxygen levels and your body will disrupt the sufferer’s sleep for around three seconds to allow breathing to begin again.
While the sufferer may be unaware of these interruptions, they cause disrupted sleep and can happen hundreds of times each night.
Does your child suffer from sleep apnea?
Children as young as two years old can suffer from sleep apnea. It more than just a disruption to their sleep, and can result in tiredness, learning delays, behavioural problems and medical conditions. Sleep apnea in children can be quickly diagnosed and easily treated. You may notice your child snores loudly, pauses breathing while they are asleep or has trouble breathing, so it could be time to take them to their GP for a diagnosis.
Sleep apnea in children can also appear as choking, gasping or snorting in their sleep, restlessness and sweating while asleep, breathing through their mouth and sleeping propped up in unusual positions. During the day you may notice a child with sleep apnea is tired when they wake up and is suffering from headaches, a blocked nose, a poor appetite or has trouble swallowing.
If sleep apnea is identified in your child treatment may include removing their adenoids and tonsils and controlling their weight if they are very overweight. A combination of medical treatments may include the use of a Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) machine.