Sleep Apnea Leads to Cranky Kids
My specialty in sinus surgery is generally limited to adults, but I follow the news with some interest when a new correlation is uncovered in the field. Such was the case with a recent study that highlighted yet another in a long line of side effects associated snoring and sleep apnea: ADHD and other behavioral problems are far more prevalent in children with the disorder.
Whether the sleep deprivation itself is the cause of these behavioral difficulties, or there is some more proximate cause associated with the gasping, this much is clear: stopping breath during sleep has far-ranging consequences for both intellect and development:
Researchers found that the odds of having behavioral problems were four to five times higher in children who developed sleep apnea during the study period, and six times higher in children who had persistent sleep apnea.
Parents of children with sleep apnea were more likely to report problems in the areas of hyperactivity, attention, disruptive behaviors, communication, social competency and self-care, the researchers report.
No comparable study was performed with adults, although we have significant evidence that obstructive sleep apnea leads to a chilling array of health problems, from depression to stroke. It hardly strains credulity to imagine that some of the same mood disorders seen in children might extend to their grownup counterparts as well.
So if you wake up gasping at night or find yourself sleepwalking through your days, the solution is simple: Seek out effective medical measures such as weight loss. And if the problem persists, consider nasal surgery such as septoplasty or turbinate reduction surgery to help create a more open airway.