When Should Children Have a Sleep Breathing Evaluation?
Sleep is essential for everyone, but few people need it more than children. Children are still growing and developing both physically and mentally, two things facilitated and improved by sleep. Parents who want the best for their children can do so by being aware of their children’s sleep hygiene and patterns to ensure they’re getting enough. If they’re not getting enough sleep, it’s time they got a sleep breathing evaluation.
Poor Sleep and Its Consequences for Growth
One of the most significant signs of poor sleep in children is snoring. Children should not snore. Snoring is a sign that there is an airway blockage, which can interfere with sleep and prevent children from getting an adequate amount and the high quality multi-phasal sleep they need to reap its benefits. It can also be an early sign of sleep apnea. Without quality sleep, children can face:
- Reduced attention
- Poor behavior
- Decreased capacity for learning and memory
- Impairments in hormone regulation
- Decreases in overall mental and physical wellbeing
Signs to Have a Sleep Breathing Evaluation
If your child snores, it’s a strong sign that you should consult a doctor and ask about the health of your child’s airway. In addition to snoring, other factors attributed to childhood snoring that may tell you its time to talk to someone about an evaluation include:
- Swollen tonsils
- Congestion or allergies
- Blocked airway
Options to Consider
One treatment option we’ve seen be particularly successful in reducing or eliminating snoring in children is encouraging full jaw development. When the jaw reaches its complete growth potential, it reduces the chance for obstructions to interfere with the airway. The Myobrace is a dental appliance system that’s worn as a mouthpiece during sleep that guides the development of the jaw and facilitates its complete growth.
For children under the age of 14, sleep physicians typically only provide overnight, in-laboratory studies to maintain the highest degree of control and achieve the most reliable results. For many families, this can be incredibly inconvenient as these kinds of studies can be quite expensive. Take-home sleep study kits are available to make the process easier. These tests can be performed in the comfort of your child’s bed as well, a significant distinction between in-lab and at-home tests. Testing a child’s sleep in their bed, instead of a bed in a lab, captures the most natural conditions of their sleeping behavior by making them feel comfortable and at ease.
Childhood Sleep Treatment Consultations
For more information about childhood snoring or sleep apnea, contact Dr. Buck’s office at 206-316-8286 to schedule a consultation and ensure that your child is getting the sleep they need to grow up as healthy as they can.