A lot of advice you’ll see regarding sleep is about routine, behavior and consistency. While that’s all extremely important, it is equally important to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be stopping your child from sleeping. Most of us know that things like teething, ear infections and asthma can make it hard for a baby or older child to fall asleep and stay asleep but fewer parents know just how big a problem sleep apnea can be. OSA stands for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep, due to a blockage in the airway. A child or adult with sleep apnea is not going to be sleeping well. Unable to breathe as easily as he should be, a child with apnea will be waking frequently. So, if you’ve worked hard to sleep train and aren’t seeing great results, had a child who was sleeping well but suddenly isn’t or you just think something sounds off about the way your child sounds at night, OSA might be something worth looking into.
The most common symptoms are:
Restless sleep (tossing and turning, rolling around all night)
Audible, noisy breathing
Unusual sleeping positions
Frequent night time wake ups
Early morning wake ups
A child who isn’t breathing well at night isn’t getting quality sleep and is probably going to be tired during the day - sometimes even right after he wakes up in the morning! Sleep apnea can easily be overlooked and result in a bunch of different issues, some more minor and other more serious, so if you notice any of the symptoms on the list and feel like your child is exhausted or cranky during the day, hyperactive or always complains that he ‘doesn’t feel good’, be in touch with your pediatrician about sleep apnea. I’m not a doctor but I have helped families put together the clues and realize that their child isn’t misbehaving or somehow resistant to all sleep training methods - the poor kids just can’t sleep. This is just a quick overview of OSA; if you want to know more, you can click here.