PORTLAND -- We hear complaints about spouses snoring all the time, but when it’s kids making the nighttime noise parents are sometimes more tolerant.
They might think it’s cute or funny, but it could be a sign of sleep apnea. The condition, long associated with adults, also occurs in children.
“Snoring can have a profound effect on a child’s sleep,” said Chad Hoskins, supervisor of the Sleep Disorders Center at Providence St. Vincent. Hoskins says at least once a week a child comes into the center for an evaluation for snoring.
“We have a snore microphone that we attach when the child spends the night,” explained Hoskins. Technicians monitor a snore channel, which helps them watch for signs of sleep apnea.
“Sleep apnea is a risk. It can impact behavior, attention, cognitive development and IQ,” said Providence St. Vincent Dr, Brian Shaffer of Providence St. Vincent .
Over time sleep apnea can also be dangerous for the heart and lungs. About one in five young snorers has apnea.
“Oxygen levels dip, carbon dioxide levels rise. The kids wake up gasping for air and sometimes it happens several times in an hour ,” said Shaffer.
Treatment for sleep apnea often involves removing a child’s tonsils and adenoids.
“It’s such a crucial time for sleep. They’re growing and developing so they need to sleep soundly,” said Hoskins.