Does your kid snore? If yes, then he or she could be suffering from a medical condition that is likely to affect his or her IQ score. Medical experts have found out that children who snore not only seek attention, suffer from mood swings but also lack concentration. The doctors have termed the problem as obstructive sleep apnea, a condition which causes pauses in breathing while asleep and results in less oxygen travelling to the lungs or repetitive wakeups.
Issuing warning to parents of kids who snore, paediatricians disclosed that it is an abnormal behaviour. They added that though no one dies from having obstructive sleep apnea, it more importantly ends up the child has broken sleep so through the night, the child’s does not get good quality sleep they require for learning and feeling fresh the next morning. It could also lead to irregular behaviour and their learning process. If it is long term and persists, the child can end up having 10 points lower IQ than otherwise.
Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include medication, taking out tonsils and adenoids, or using a machine which provides oxygen. Interestingly, specialists have reported success after giving these treatments to some children diagnosed with ADHD – often the symptoms of the two conditions hard to differentiate.
The most predominant risk factor of sleep apnea is obesity. Kids born into a family with a high risk of sleep apnea are at increased risk as are kids with Down syndrome, with significant hypotonia (their muscles are relatively very weak) and who have neuromuscular diseases. Asthmatic kids too can suffer from sleep apnea but if the two diseases are common, they are likely to coincide even though they may not share any common mechanisms. However, in children whose parents smoke, there can be a major risk factor for snoring.
During night, children with sleep apnea may:
- Snore loudly and on a regular basis
- Have pauses, gasps, and snorts and actually stop breathing. The snorts or gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
- Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in unusual positions.
- Sweat heavily during sleep.
During the day, children with sleep apnea may:
- Have behavioural, school and social problems
- Be difficult to wake up
- Have headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
- Be irritable, agitated, aggressive, and cranky
- Be so sleepy during the day that they actually fall asleep or daydream
- Speak with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth