WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF SLEEP APNEA IN CHILDREN?

Updated: Jul 22

According to a study conducted by Healthy People 2030, only 65% of children between the ages of 4-months and 14-years old get a sufficient amount of sleep each night. This means that 35% of children do not. While there are a number of contributing factors, such as environmental and socioeconomically, undiagnosed blocked airways and sleep apnea remain the leading contributor.


Your child's snoring and mouth breathing are both signs that they may be suffering from sleep apnea.


sleep apnea in kids

Children with airway disorders often experience sleep problems such as apnea, snoring, bedwetting, frequent waking, and extreme restlessness. Sleep deprivation damages brain neurons, particularly those in the cortex region, interferes with the body's restorative process and causes chemical and cellular imbalances which can lead to ADHD, inattentiveness, learning disabilities, allergies, asthma, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, poor school performance, and head-forward posture.


What is pediatric obstructive sleep apnea?


The symptoms of sleep apnea include pauses in breathing during sleep. There may be intermittent pauses or pauses every couple of minutes. Breathing is also shallow between pauses. Normal breathing resumes after a pause but sometimes is accompanied by a loud snort or choking sound.

“Obstructive sleep apnea affects 3 to 6 percent of children and is associated with repetitive narrowing of the airways, which is the breathing tube from the mouth and the nose down to the lungs,” explains Yale Medicine's Craig A. Canapari, MD, director of the Pediatric Sleep Medicine Program.

A child with poor sleep quality at night will exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty getting up at a certain time in the morning

  • Complaining of headaches in the morning

  • Showing signs of exhaustion such as bags and dark circles under their eyes

  • Showing signs of ADHD, anger, and frank aggression

  • Needing extra naps or extended nap time during the day



There are more than 90 diagnosable sleep disorders. One specific sleep disorder, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), can affect your child's brain, heart, blood pressure, appetite, teeth, and jaw development.


As with any medical condition, consult your child's pediatrician should you see any of these symptoms in your child or if you suspect your child is suffering from an airway disorder.


sleep disordered breathing in children

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