As parents, we know how vital a good night’s sleep is to our daily performance. Sleep health is equally important in children. Quality, uninterrupted and restful sleep is essential for optimal tissue regeneration within the brain, and allows rest and recovery to optimise your child’s behaviour and performance at play and school.
Children are not simply ‘little adults’, and childhood snoring and sleep apnoea are different conditions to their adult counterparts. Whereas adult snoring is typically caused by anatomy, overweight and the loss of tissue tone as we age, in children, airway blockage is caused by the overgrowth of tissue within the nose, post-nasal space or throat. The nasal filters, or ‘turbinates’, the adenoid, and the tonsils can all enlarge in response to childhood illness and allergies, and cause a spectrum of conditions termed “obstructive sleep-disordered breathing”.
Diagnosing Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)
From simple snoring to true sleep apnoea diagnosing obstructive SDB requires careful history taking to establish not only night-time impact, but also the daytime consequences – your ENT will likely enquire about behaviour and mood, schooling, attentiveness, and eating behaviours as well as about sleep, snoring, night-time habits such as bed-wetting, sleep walking, sleep talking and night terrors to gain a comprehensive picture of your child’s sleep health, and their management options.