The surprising connection between childhood behavioral disorders and sleep disordered breathing

Do you have a child with a chronic snoring problem? Or do they have frequent pauses in their breathing or wake up gasping for air? Are they always tired or not well rested when waking in the morning? Do they have difficulty concentrating for more than a few minutes? Have they also been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD? If any of this sounds familiar, it may help you to know that there is a surprising connection between sleep disorders in children and common childhood behavioral disorders.

What’s causing your child to snore?

Children with large tonsils or adenoids, TMJ and smaller airways are prone to sleep disorders. Whatever the cause, however, snoring is not normal sleep behavior, and if your child is suffering from sleep apnea or chronic snoring, they are not just losing a little sleep. Left undiagnosed and untreated, these disorders can affect both the emotional well-being and overall physical health of your child.

How is snoring linked to certain behavioral disorders?

Children suffering from fatigue due to a sleep disorder may present with symptoms that are identical to behavioral disorders like ADD or ADHD. This may lead to a misdiagnosis and a subsequent prescription with medications, like Ritalin. Unfortunately, these children may not be helped with medication and so they continue to suffer from poor sleep accompanied by:

  • Daytime exhaustion
  • Chronic snoring, accompanied by apnea
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequent bedwetting
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Acting out and irritability

What can you do to help your child?

If your child has a chronic snoring problem or has been diagnosed with some other sleep disorder, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with your dentist. At your child’s appointment, you should expect that your dentist will complete a thorough clinical examination to help rule out whether the cause is actually due to a dental issue. This will also help your dentist to determine the best treatment for your child. Treatment options include non-invasive dental orthotics to help ensure your child’s airway remains open, allowing them to enjoy healthy, uninterrupted sleep.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about sleep disorders in children, please schedule a consultation with Chicago dentist, consider Dr. Ira Shapira of Think Better Life.

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