Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for children’s physical and mental development. However, many children struggle to get enough sleep due to various factors such as stress, busy schedules, or health conditions such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses, also known as apneas, can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and can occur up to hundreds of times a night. Children with sleep apnea may wake up frequently throughout the night or may not get into deep, restful sleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, and an increased risk of various health problems.
There are several signs that a child may have sleep apnea, including:
- Snoring: Children with sleep apnea may snore loudly or have pauses in their breathing while sleeping.
- Daytime sleepiness: Children with sleep apnea may be excessively tired during the day or have difficulty staying awake in class.
- Bedwetting: Children with sleep apnea may wet the bed even if they have been dry at night for a long time.
- Behavioral problems: Children with sleep apnea may have difficulty paying attention or may display behavioral problems such as hyperactivity or irritability.
One of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea in children is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This involves using a machine that delivers a steady stream of air through a mask worn over the nose or mouth. The air pressure helps keep the airways open, preventing apneas and allowing the child to sleep uninterrupted.
However, CPAP therapy can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for some children, leading to poor adherence. Fortunately, there are other treatment options available, such as oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a custom-fit device, similar to a mouthguard, while sleeping. The device works by holding the lower jaw and tongue in a forward position, which helps keep the airways open and prevents apneas. Oral appliance therapy is generally safe and well-tolerated in children and can be an effective alternative to CPAP therapy.
Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for children’s physical and mental development. Children with sleep apnea may have difficulty getting enough sleep due to repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Signs of sleep apnea in children may include snoring, daytime sleepiness, bedwetting, and behavioral problems. To learn more about treatment options for sleep apnea, call our office today at 858-538-8300.