Sleep Apnea In Children
10 Main Symptoms To Look For

Sleep apnea in children might not be as common as in adults, but it is still a major problem. So that's why I thought we would spend some time on this today.

So let's talk about the symptoms you should look for to be on the safe side.

There are many potential symptoms, but for example, if your child often seems tired during daytime or is snoring more than usual, then you must look deeper. And note that these are only two potential reasons.

If these types of symptoms have been noticed just a few times, then you shouldn't have to worry. It is when this becomes the everyday situation that you should take measures. Your child might suffer from sleep apnea.

However, most of the warning signals can be quite difficult to spot and identify. Therefore I want to shed some light on the 10 main potential symptoms.

1. Frequent Sleeping Position Change

Since sleep apnea in children causes the kids to wake up quite frequently during the night, it also makes them change sleeping position more than normal. This could be a small clue that something is wrong.

2. Nighttime Sweats

Just as I mentioned above, the frequent waking up leads to changing of sleeping position. And this can then also cause nighttime sweats as a result. Just something to be aware of.

3. Difficulty in Breathing

Children with sleep apnea breathe in and out with their mouth during sleep, not with their nose. This can cause them to have difficulty in breathing while lying down.

4. Snoring

Snoring is usually not considered as such a serious problem for kids, so I just want to raise a warning flag here. One of the symptoms for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is actually snoring, according to recent research.

There should be no problem is snoring once in a while, but if it becomes more regular than that, then it's time to check out this warning flag. I would definitely take my child to a doctor, just in case.

5. Not Feeling Refreshed

The real purpose of sleeping is of course to feel refreshed and alive when the morning comes. But since sleep apnea in children results in both choking and gasping for air, this doesn't always happen.

If your child wakes up several times during a single night, they don't actually get enough sleep - both in time, but also in quality since their sleep cycles are interrupted.

So if your child doesn't really feel fresh in the morning, then this could be the reason.

6. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

With insufficient sleep, as I mentioned above, your child might experience problems during daytime. Falling asleep in school or at home could be a sign of sleep apnea in children.

7. Behavioral Changes

Have you seen any of these behaviors in your child?

  • Irritation
  • Moodiness
  • Violence
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sudden decrease in grades
  • Acting differently at school or home

All these are potential symptoms of sleep apnea for kids. As a matter of fact, all these are the result of lack of sleep due to sleep apnea.

8. Nightmares

In essence, sleep apnea in children leads to a lack of airflow to their brain when sleeping. This can often cause nightmares to occur much more frequently than before.

Since nightmares can happen during any of the sleep cycles, it is a common symptom. The nightmares themselves are often about suffocating or drowning - a clear connection to suffering from sleep apnea.

9. Night Terror

Night terror is a more extreme case of nightmares and is caused by the same lack of airflow as mentioned above.

10. Wetting The Bed

Just because a child is wetting their bed does not mean that they are suffering from sleep apnea. However, there is a possibility.

The result of being stuck in a state between sleep and awake can cause involuntarily urination. So to be on the safe side, it's a symptom worth looking into.

Other Potential Symptoms

Other symptoms than can be observed in children with sleep apnea include

  • Confusion after waking from sleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Experiencing headaches after waking from sleep
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • etc.

So if you notice any of the 10 main symptoms for sleep apnea in children as listed above (or these additional ones) in your own child, then I strongly advise you to consult a sleep doctor. Your child will be diagnosed and you get confirmed if it actually is sleep apnea or not.

Being certain is always step number one.

After confirmation, he will also show the necessary treatment methods and you and your child will be on the way to recovery.

I at least hope that I've been able to shed some light on the symptoms as a starting point.


Early Riser > Sleep Problems > Sleep Apnea In Children

Thanks for reading! By Matthew M. McEwan


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