Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sleep disturbances in children

Sleep disturbances in children

Not A Minor Inconvenience: Sleep Disturbances in Children

Author: K. Leeds

In a study of some eleven thousand children being monitored for over six years, it has been found that sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in young children leads to an increased frequency of developmental difficulties with behavior such as hyperactivity or aggressiveness as well as other emotional anomalies and a marked straining with peer relationships. The relatively new study, which has been published in an online journal, is comprised of analyses of the stacked effects of snoring, sleep apnea, and mouth breathing patterns of children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a U.K. based project.

Participating parents were interviewed via questionnaires about the children's sleep disordered breathing symptoms at regular intervals, as they progressed from six months to 6 years of age. As the children approached four to seven years of age, their parents were asked to fill out the standard questionnaire used to asses and pinpoint possible behavioral difficulties known as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The researchers had control groups for fifteen confounding variables that could potentially skew the results of the study due to unstudied factors. These included socio-economic status, smoking of the mother through the first trimester, and of course, low birth weight. Researchers found that those children diagnosed with sleep disordered breathing were anywhere from 40% to 100% more likely to develop behavioral problems by the age of seven when compared with children that did not have breathing problems during sleep. Furthermore, the study showed the largest increase to be in hyperactivity, although there were significant increases in all five of the behavioral aspects measured.

The conclusion that researchers reached was that SDB potentially caused behavioral problems due to the effect it has on the brain. By decreasing levels of O2, and increasing the levels of CO2 in the prefrontal cortex, sleep disordered breathing interrupts the rejuvenating properties of a good night's sleep the same way it does in obstructive sleep apnea. Put plainly, it disrupts the delicate balances of cellular and chemical systems in the brain.

The use of sleep apnea machines known as CPAP has long been the standard treatment for sleep apnea, a condition traditionally studied and diagnosed in adulthood. What researchers are finding is that sleep disordered breathing in children has similar effects, and bears a stark resemblance to the symptomology of the two types of sleep apnea diagnosed in adults. Use of a CPAP machine with the appropriate CPAP mask, such as ResMed's Mirage Kidsta™ Mask, which has been specifically designed for pediatric patients aged seven years and older would reflect drastic results, and nearly immediate alleviation of the behavioral symptoms. The Kidsta is the first FDA approved system in the U.S. for treating children diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or another respiratory insufficiency such as sleep disordered breathing (SDB). This particular CPAP mask combines the cushion technology the Mirage is known for with comfort, performance, and child friendly features.

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About the Author

K. Leeds is a freelance writer for The CPAP Shop, one of the leading providers of CPAP machine. Please visit The CPAP Shop website to learn more about their CPAP Supplies and brands.

Anxiety Symptoms in Children - Why Children Have Trouble Explaining Feelings

Author: Philip D English

1. Not All Children Have The Same Worries..

It is normal for children under three to have strong reactions when separated from parents. During early school years many children develop fears of insects, strangers, ghosts, etc. Teenage children can become shy and socially reserved. If our children's fears are too strong for what is happening, or if they last too long, they may be suffering from an anxiety problem. For example, if a teenager who always does well at school becomes fearful about failing their exams, then the teenager may have developed an anxiety problem.

2. Be Aware of Any Changes in Your Child's Behavior..

Although anxiety symptoms in children may be present, usually they'll have trouble communicating the feelings - so as parents, since they can't talk about their fears and distresses, as a parent it's your responsibility to be aware of any changes in your child's behaviour, and also in the way your child deals with their feelings. For example, has your daughter become more withdrawn? Is your son sleeping less? Is your pre-schooler clinging more and doesn't want to go anywhere without you? Is your primary school aged daughter missing a lot of school? Has your teenage son started showing signs of worry or having sudden outbursts of anger?

3. How Long Should A Child's Worries Last?

Normal worries don't last long in childhood. They disappear quickly. However, if our children's fears or worries continue for more than three or four weeks, then we should begin to get worried, and if they continue for months we need to seek professional help.

4. Children From Different Cultures..

What may be seen as anxiety symptoms in children in one culture, may be seen as normal behaviour by people from another culture. For example, talking softly, particularly by women and children, is normal in some cultures and is not considered a sign of fear or worry.

5. It's important to remember..

...that as parents, we're always trying to do what's best for our children, so if you're concerned about unusual behaviour in your child, behaviour that other parents may be concerned about, it's important to take the time and delve a little further. On the other hand, if you don't identify any of the usual anxiety symptoms in your child, and you are comfortable with your child's behaviour, then it's unlikely you have anything to worry about.

To better understand your child's anxiety visit

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About the Author

After suffering anxiety and panic attacks through my teens and into my early twenties, I was living in New York making my living as a television actor when, for the first time, cast in my first theatrical stage production, I was forced to face up to the fact that I had a serious disorder. Up until then I would self medicate when the pressures became too much, using alcohol and prescription drugs to alleviate my insecurities, but having to go on stage in front of a live audience every night? That's when I knew it was time to find a cure - so, after talking to many people and finding out how widespread the condition was, I was finally able to name my disorder and begin to understand the cause. Knowing now how disruptive anxiety and panic attack disorders can be, in the hope that it will help parents help their children, I have created a website that deals exclusively with understanding anxiety symptoms in children and teens.

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