Can Children Get Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is one of the most severe sleep-breathing disorders

Often considered as a severe sleeping disorder for adults, it can have severe effects on children as well. This blog investigates how it can affect children and what are the best treatment options.

According to Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (2019), approximately two to three in every 100 children will experience some form of obstructive sleep apnoea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

Although snoring is a common issue of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), other symptoms can include:

  • Restless Sleep
  • Long pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air when sleeping
  • Day time fatigue
  • Hyperactive behaviour and trouble focusing
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with headaches

While children can display extreme fatigue during the day, children with sleep apnoea typically exhibit symptoms that are similar to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

In many cases, we have found that children with sleep apnoea have been incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD because of the similarity in symptoms. Several ADHD medications can cause insomnia, which only makes a sleep-breathing disorder worse, creating a cycle of sleeplessness.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnoea

If you child is showing symptoms of sleep apnoea or has been diagnosed with ADHD, but isn’t showing signs of improvement, they may need to see a sleep apnoea dentist who can perform an airway evaluation and determine if, or how badly, the airway is blocked.

These blockages usually occur because of enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the enlarged tissue. If the child’s airway is blocked due to the improper resting position of the jaw or facial muscles, an oral appliance may help to correct these problems. Oral appliance therapy involves fitting your child with a customized mouthpiece to keep the airway open while sleeping and facilitate the flow of oxygen.

A sleep study can also be a great option to help diagnose sleep apnoea in children. During the study, the doctor will check:

  • Movements of the eyes
  • Heartrate
  • Brain waves
  • Carbon dioxide levels
  • Snoring and breathing patterns.

Sleep Apnoea at Marriott and Hand

If you are worried that your child is affected by sleep apnoea, contact us and one of our experienced team members can discuss the condition further with you and suggest possible treatment options.