Obstructive sleep apnea and health-threatening snoring are no longer just problems among grown-ups. Researchers from a recent study stated that night time awakenings and other hints are more likely to help parents achieve the right diagnosis and assistance for children with sleep breathing problems that are often overlooked.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at the Yeshiva University followed the night time sleep disturbances and sleep quality of more than 11,000 British children from the age of 18 months until they reached 5 years of age.

Parents were questioned if the children had diagnosis of snoring or sleep apnea that interrupted their sleep pattern. To clearly identify at-home evidence of these conditions, researchers also questioned the parents on whether the sleeping kids exhibited any of the following unexpected signs of sleep problem:

Difficulty in sleeping
Refusing to go to sleep
Waking up early on a regular basis
Occurrence of nightmares
Night time awakenings
Getting up after being put to bed

Children who simultaneously experience 5 or more of these sleep behaviors were considered as having significant behavioral sleep issues. The study revealed a strong link between night time sleep problems that are noticeable by parents and the more serious SDB or sleep-disordered breathing problem. Forty percent of the children experiencing significant behavioral sleep issues also experience sleep-disordered breathing.

What is the connection? Researchers stated that night time awakenings or refusal to sleep will not result to sleep-disordered breathing however a breathing problem can trigger those problems. The group also warned parents that responding to the night time awakenings and similar issues may encourage those habits in children, even after the underlying breathing issues have been treated.

According to Karen Bonuck, Ph.D., a professor of family & social medicine and the obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at the Albert Einstein College, there are enough clues, which suggest that any interruptions in sleep can affect the child’s cognitive, behavioral, academic, and emotional development in a negative way. Fortunately, the apnea and snoring issues are very treatable. There have already been several effective interventions available for a number of behavioral sleeping disorders children commonly experience. Dr. Bonuck stated that the results of the study should help raise awareness among physicians and parents that poor sleeping patterns observed in children is enough reason to delve deeper in order to find out if the kids are suffering from unrecognized breathing-related sleep problem.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Smith writes on various topics including sleep and insomnia, health advice and health. He is published on more than 300 websites including: www.cityofsleep.com