Sleep is an important factor in the normal physical and mental development of your child. It is needed for satisfactory daily activities and success at school.
Today we know that snoring isn’t reserved only for adults. Many children also snore in sleep but why? They can snore due to a cold or even severe respiratory disturbance. Check what are the reasons for it and how can you treat OSAS.
Causes for child’s snoring
There are a few causes for children snoring. Usually, the enlarged pharyngeal tonsil and tonsils (in this case both are surgically removed) are the reason for it. Allergies can cause it also.
Sleep apnea in children
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is possible as a result of a repeated temporary respiratory tract blockage. It appears as a short-term respiratory failure blockage. Such respiratory breaks are harmful. They reduce the saturation of blood with oxygen, which in the long run can harm many organs.
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome – OSAS
Some disease conditions are most severe and mainly seen during sleep when breathing disorders occur. The result is a reduced oxygen supply for the body.
In recent years doctors increasingly diagnose respiratory disturbances during sleep. Disturbances occur due to reduced airflow through the upper respiratory tract. We call it the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome during sleep – OSAS.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea syndrome OSAS?
These disorders occur in kids and adults, but the causes are different. In the course of one episode, short-term reduced supply of blood and tissue with oxygen occurs together with sleep disorders and cardiac disturbances.
OSAS dangers in a long run
Fatigue and behavioral disorders can occur as a longer and later effect of insufficient breathing. The high blood pressure and signs of heart disease can develop. If you don’t know what OSAS is and don’t treat it; there can be permanent and even life-threatening consequences.
Hours of sleep by age
It is estimated that OSAS occurs in 1-3% of children in pre-school and school age. Activity and rest, sleep and alertness change within 24 hours, and last depending on the kid’s age. The newborn sleeps even 20 out of 24 hours. This time shortens and he sleeps 14-15 hours, 2-4 hours a day at the end of the first year of sleep.
How much sleep do kids need?
In addition to 8-10 hours of night sleep, the pre-school child still requires at least 1-2 hours of daily sleep. Meanwhile, a kid sleeps mainly at night for 8-10 hours when he is going to school.
Deepest sleep phase at children
Periods of varying deep sleep are changing. Periods are changing from the deepest sleep phase to the very active phase. At this phase, all life functions, including brain activity, are at the lowest level. The muscles are completely relaxed. At a very active phase, dreams and increased general activity, including muscle activity are present.
Despite varying deep sleep and reduced respiratory activity, decreased heart rate, and decreased muscle and brain activity, all tissues and organs are well-supplied with oxygen all the time, and all cellular functions are working as they should.
When obstructive sleep apnea occurs in children?
The occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea has some possible causes. In children, it is most commonly associated with an enlarged lymphatic tissue located on the upper wall of the pharyngeal tonsils and in the transitional part between the oral cavity and the oesophagus (pharyngeal tonsil and tonsils).
Lymphatic tissue in the nasal cavity can also be increased. Other conditions that lead to obstruction of the upper respiratory tract during sleep are much rarer and are present in kids with facial and nasal abnormalities (e.g., Down’s syndrome, small lower jaw, etc.).
Signs of obstructive sleep apnea in kids
Children who have a problem with OSA most often snore, breathe more or less through the mouth, and are extremely restless during sleeping. They often awake during sleep.
Kids with OSAS have a lot more problems when sleeping. They can walk or talk during sleep, have nightmares or lift out of the bed. These children don’t have any special breathing problems throughout the day.
But we can see disorders as daytime sleepiness at older children (e.g. a child sleeping in front of the TV in the afternoon). Young kids can experience fatigue, which can be reflected in hyperactivity, aggression, impulsive behavior, or outages.
Older ones may have a worse concentration between daily activities and poorer school performance. Long-term disorders can lead to heart strain and changes in the lung blood vessels, as well as a decrease in body development.
Treatment of OSAS
The most successful and simplest treatment for OSAS is the operational removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy). This is the most common cause of the disorder. All the problems disappear in most children after this operation.
If there is no improvement after the tonsillectomy, the oxygen is given to the kid through the nose at night. It has a very good effect on some of them, but this type of treatment is useful especially for adult, obese patients.
Night problems that warn of respiratory disturbances during sleep can have several causes. Snoring, night walking, talking, and restless sleep or anxiety disorders such as fatigue, frustration, behavioral disorders, and concentration problems can be the symptoms of your child’s sleeping problems. So it is necessary to consult with a pediatrician.
OSA syndrome is only one of the possible causes. If it is possible, I recommend a diagnostic procedure to exclude or prove obstructive sleep apnea and identify other causes (e.g. asthma). By appropriate treatment, the cause of the disease can be quickly and effectively eliminated.