by Ray Van Metre, MD, Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat
The quality of a child’s sleep is crucial to maintaining good physical and mental health. One of the most common reasons sleep can suffer is obstructed breathing from large tonsils and adenoids. Even without a history of tonsil infections or sore throat, the tonsils can be so large that they take up too much space in the back of the throat. The adenoids, located in the back of the nose, can also be large. This blocks breathing through the nose and leads to chronic mouth breathing.
We’ve all heard of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in adults and this is, essentially, the same thing in children. It is proven that poor sleep negatively affects our immune system and can contribute to a child being ‘sickly’. Very often, lack of quality sleep leads to behavioral problems during the day including inability to concentrate in school, daytime drowsiness and emotional volatility. In fact, it turns out a large number of children previously thought to have Attention Deficit Disorder are simply suffering from a lack of good sleep.
What are the signs and symptoms to watch for in your child? Observe their sleep and look for the following: snoring (both mild and severe), mouth breathing, long pauses between breaths, gasping for air, restless sleep (flipping/flopping all over the bed), bed wetting, teeth grinding and sleep walking. Things to look for during the day are inability to focus/concentrate, behavioral problems at school and the need for afternoon naps. The decision to remove the tonsils and adenoids can be easily made based on the history provided by the parents and a simple clinical exam.
If your child is having sleepless nights, call Lexington Clinic today at (859) 258-4362 to schedule your appointment with an ENT specialist.