Getting quality sleep is crucial to good health, both for children and adults. But if you have young kids at home, you’ll know how difficult it can be to put them to bed. And unfortunately, problems can appear even when they’re asleep. In this post we’ll discuss two things can interfere with your children’s rest and with their overall health: sleep interruptions and sleep- disordered breathing.
Sleepwalking And Night Terrors
Sleepwalking is especially common in young kids. Episodes usually happen within the first few hours of sleep and they can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Although in most cases this problem disappears on its own by the time a child is 10 years old, it can be a source of problems in the meantime.
First of all, there’s the risk that kids who sleepwalk may hurt themselves either by tripping and falling or running into something. Moreover, children who sleepwalk are usually tired during the day, and this can affect their mood and performance at school.
Night terrors are another thing that causes sleep interruptions. These may happen every now and then, in which case there’s nothing to worry about. But if your child has night terrors often, they may suffer the same adverse effects caused by nightwalking.
Sleep-disordered breathing is a term that covers several problems that happen at night. For example, you may think that snoring isn’t really a big deal, but in fact it often is a sign of underlying conditions.
After all, people snore because the normal airflow is obstructed. Some of the reasons behind frequent snoring can be diet deficiencies, obesity, or incorrect breathing (breathing through the mouth).
Sleep Apnoea in Children
Sleep apnoea is another night-time breathing disorder that you should understand so you can identify the symptoms, since kids with apnoea aren’t aware of the problem.
Apnoea is a breathing interruption while a child is asleep, and this happens several times every night. A child with this condition will wake up gasping or snorting, although they won’t remember it in the morning. They may also breathe heavily, snore, or be generally restless in their sleep.
Sleep-disordered breathing issues and sleep interruptions are actually connected to each other. Medical researchers have found that apnoea in particular seems to be the trigger for other disorders, since it causes an interruption in the sleep cycle. In fact, night terrors and sleep walking are symptoms of apnoea too.
If you notice any apnoea symptoms in your child, it’s important that you take them to a healthcare professional familiar with this condition. Sleep apnoea can be quite harmful to your child’s health and the effects go from daytime sleepiness and concentration problems to hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and heart conditions.
Diagnosing And Treating Sleep Disorders In Young Kids
All sleep disorders related to incorrect breathing (including apnoea) can be diagnosed by a dentist. You may be surprised to hear this, but actually many of these disorders are caused by problems that fall within a dentist’s expertise. For example, apnoea and frequent snoring can be the result of jaw development problems.
To get an accurate diagnosis, you’ll need to find a child-friendly dental clinic that has the facilities to test for these disorders. Testing can be done at home, so the child sleeps in their own bed. The testing involves simply wearing a small fingertip device that records the child’s body while they’re sleep, including breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and body position.
If a night-time breathing disorder is found, your dentist will discuss the treatment options available. One of the most effective ways of treating this is by using an oral appliance that the child wears to bed.
These are similar to retainers (worn after braces) and they’re safe to be used on kids as young as two years old. These special devices help by correcting the jaw and tongue position, which are some of the most common things that cause breathing interruptions.
The device helps keep the airways open through the night, which means that your child is less likely to wake up and can get a better rest.
There’s nothing more important than your kid’s health and well-being, and these start with the ability to sleep and breathe well. If you’d like to prevent the health problems linked to sleep disorders, get in touch with MyoKids Dental.
Danny the dentist is specially trained and has plenty of experience treating this condition in young kids. Book your consultation today!