Sleep apnea can be scary for anyone, but specifically when children have it. Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing for a few seconds as they sleep due to a blocked airway. This can cause several issues, including consistent exhaustion.
Although people typically hear of adults having this problem, children can have it too. Here’s how to spot when your child has sleep apnea and how you can help them.
What Are Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be different for everyone. Many people may not know they have sleep apnea until someone spots it. So, for your child, you’d have to identify it when they’re sleeping.
This doesn’t mean you’ll need to watch over them like a hawk, but rather know the signs to look out for so you can get treatment. The most common symptoms that your child may experience due to sleep apnea include:
- Snoring that is loud or noisy breathing
- Periods of not breathing even if their chest is moving
- Mouth breathing that is completely blocked by their tonsils or adenoids
- Restlessness during sleep that is normally called “tossing and turning”
- Sleeping in odd positions, such as their neck bending backward
- Behavior problems such as irritation or difficulty concentrating, or sleepiness
- Problems with their schoolwork that could look like they’re “slow” or “lazy”
- Bedwetting can also occur
- Frequent infections with tonsils, adenoids, or ear infections
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
There are a few methods of how you can go about treating your child’s sleep apnea. The most common treatment is to have them use a mouthguard when they sleep at night.
These are customizable to your child for the best comfort available. They can help minimize snoring and treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
The benefits of having your child use a mouthguard to prevent sleep apnea include:
- Reducing the number of pauses in breathing or episodes of shallow breathing
- Significantly improve blood oxygen levels
- Decrease the frequency and volume of snoring
- Reduce daytime sleepiness so they can focus on school