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In pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, your child's breath is repeatedly partially or completely blocked during sleep. Their breathing will appear as events of reductions or pauses which typically increase during REM sleep. This condition is caused by a narrowing or blockage of the upper airway during sleep.

sleep apnea in children

When a child's breathing is disrupted during sleep, due to sleep disorder breathing and the drop in oxygen levels, the brain signals to the body that the child is choking. This alert triggers the body into action causing blood pressure to rise and the child's sleep to be interrupted as the body tries to recover.

Sleep apnea in children differs from sleep apnea in adults. Daytime sleepiness tends to be more prevalent among adults, whereas behavioral problems are more prevalent among children.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a child with sleep apnea may: