Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?

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If your child is exhibiting symptoms of sleep apnea, talk to your pediatrician.

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea may contribute to daytime fatigue and behavioral problems at school. According to a recent study in CHEST, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, children who snored loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. Following a night of poor sleep, children are more likely to be hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. These are also signs of attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Apnea may also be associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children

During the night, a child with sleep apnea may:

  • Snore loudly and on a regular basis
  • Have pauses, gasps, and snorts and actually stop breathing. The snorts or gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
  • Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in unusual positions
  • Sweat heavily during sleep

During the day, a child with sleep apnea may:

  • Have behavioral, school and social problems
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Have headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
  • Be irritable, agitated, aggressive, and cranky
  • Be so sleepy during the day that they actually fall asleep or daydream
  • Speak with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth