Has your child been recently diagnosed with ADHD? Do he or she sleep well, or do they toss and turn all night long? Millions of children and adults struggle with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is a condition with symptoms of poor concentration, impulse control, organization, and memory. It can be a frustrating and difficult condition, often affecting a child’s performance in school.
What if those children diagnosed with ADHD are, suffering from another disorder — a sleep disorder? Recent studies suggest that Sleep Apnea can be the underlying problem that causes ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD in children frequently comes about after a child displays behavioral symptoms such as Lack of focus: difficulty paying attention, problems listening, forgetfulness, disorganization; Agitation, excitable, impulsive behavior: excessive talking, inability to sit still, difficulty playing quietly, tendency to interrupt, difficulty sharing or waiting for one’s turn.
In a study published by Sleep Research Society, found that children with obstructive sleep apnea had higher rates of behavioral problems including difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, communication problems, and aggressiveness. They were also more likely to have learning difficulties and low academic performance than those without sleep-disordered breathing.
In this large-scale study that included 11,000 children, it was found that those with sleep-disordered breathing were more likely to show signs of hyperactivity, trouble interacting with peers, and conduct issues including aggressiveness and inability to follow rules. The study examined the effects of sleep-disordered breathing on children as young as 6 months. Researchers found that very young children who experienced some form of sleep-disordered breathing were, by the age of 7, were 40-100% more likely to have behavioral problems, diagnosed as ADHD.
Often enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common causes of sleep apnea in children. But obesity and chronic allergies can also be a cause. People with obstructive sleep apnea have episodes when they stop breathing, because of an obstruction of the airway causing them to temporarily wake up multiple times at night. As with adults, children with sleep apnea will be tired during the day. They may have problems concentrating and might have other symptoms related to lack of sleep.
If you have been told that your child has ADHD it might be wise to have them checked out for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea in children is treatable. To confirm the diagnosis, the child may get a need a sleep study. At Raphaelson Dental Sleep Center we offer a convenient home sleep study that can help diagnose these symptoms since not every child with enlarged tonsils or with loud snoring has sleep apnea. Our sleep physician will evaluate your child’s test results to rule out OSA, and we will often refer your child to an ENT for follow up treatment. We feel that surgery is often the treatment of choice for kids with anatomical factors that cause OSA such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Call us today if you are interested in a sleep study that can be performed in the comfort of your home.