Snoring is the number one sign of a sleep problem in children. A child may be snoring due to a number of causes such as oversized tonsils and/or adenoids, anatomical issues such as a small jaw or airway diameter, and allergies or asthma that cause swelling of the linings of the airway.
If your child is snoring, it is important to seek medical advice quickly, as it can also be a sign of a more serious sleep problem in children called obstructive sleep apnea, which causes breathing to actually pause during sleep.
Other common sleep disorders in children include nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking. Symptoms of sleep disorders in children have often lead to misdiagnoses of behavioral disorders such as ADHD. Therefore, parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible sleep disorders in children which are consistent snoring (three to four times a week), breathing that pauses during sleep, waking up with a headache, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, restless sleep, difficulty getting up in the morning, falling asleep at the wrong place or time, poor growth, bed-wetting, consistent night terrors or nightmares, behavioral issues and difficulty concentrating.
If your child is displaying symptoms of a potential sleep problem, talk to your primary care physician about getting referred for a sleep study. Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center and Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) both offer pediatric sleep studies for children 5 years of age and older. Leading the studies is an exceptional team of board-certified sleep medicine specialists, sleep technologists and respiratory therapists who use state-of-the art sleep monitoring equipment.
Christy Hall is the manager of Annie Penn Sleep Center and Respiratory Therapy and has been a respiratory therapist for twenty-five years. She is a graduate of California College of Health Sciences with a degree in respiratory therapy.