Sleep Apnea in Children: Learning Challenges
As parents raise their children they often worry about the state of their well-being. Thoughts such as how they are sleeping throughout the night, and how well they are preforming in school, are examples of everyday concerns. Sometimes, those concerns are one in the same. Sleep apnea in children is a growing issue, and a recent study shows that learning challenges are also on the rise.
How Sleep Apnea in Children Affects Schoolwork
Scientists from the University of Chicago brought together 1,359 public school children ages 5 to 7 years, those with and those without a pre-existing snoring condition. The students were separated into four groups based on the severity of their sleep apnea.
They underwent sleep assessment questionnaires, an overnight sleep study and a measurement of their cognitive functions. Scientist found that even snoring has a detrimental effect on a child’s memory and language and his ability to understand and pay attention. Sleep apnea in children increases the chance of developing these cognitive defects.
How to Prevent Sleep Apnea in Children
The results of the study were presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference where Leila Gozal, MD, MSc, from the University of Chicago, states, “Our findings provide further justification for exploration and development of simple cognitive batteries that can be coupled to the current clinical evaluation of children with habitual snoring such as to better guide the management of the decision-making process.”
If you are a parent worried that your child is at risk for sleep apnea, here are some common symptoms you can look for:
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
- Snoring, pauses in breathing, snorts, or gasping.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Daytime sleepiness.
- Behavioral problems.
- Learning difficulties.
The study shows that sleep apnea in children can lead to cognitive difficulties, which slow the progress of your child’s development. An ENT physician specializes in helping patients with sleep apnea symptoms. Consider having your child evaluated by a local ENT physician, so that the state of their well-being is less of a concern in the back of your mind.