Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in about 0.5 to 3 percent of children. The peak age is 3-6 years old, but it may occur at any age.
There are more than 80 different sleep disorders that may affect children. Some of the more common ones are sleep apnea, narcolepsy and parasomnias (sleep talking, sleep eating, sleep walking, bedwetting, sleep terrors and nightmares).
Sleep disorders in children may lead to diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), high blood pressure, lung disease, heart disease and, rarely, even death.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in children include:
- Failure to thrive (weight loss or poor weight gain)
- Breathing through the mouth
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Problems sleeping and restless sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Daytime cognitive and behavior problems, including problems paying attention, aggressive behavior and hyperactivity, which may lead to problems at school
- Nightly snoring, often with intermittent pauses, snorts or gasps
If you think your child has a sleep disorder, see your child's physician or contact The Sleep Center for more information.