Kids and the A-B-ZZZS of Sleep

FRESNO, Calif. From toddlers...

"He'd be snoring and run everybody out of the room," Cindy Stubbs told Ivanhoe about her son.

To teens...

"My eyes are shut, but I can't fall asleep," 16 year-old, Michele Figeuroa said.

More than two-million kids have sleep disorders. Three-year-old Jack Frank's nighttime snoring and daytime grouchiness led to a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

The fix wasn't meds or machines. Instead, surgeons took out his tonsils.

"That amount of obstruction in the back of the throat can contribute to difficulty with sleep apnea," explained Leslie H. Boyce, M.D., Pediatric Sleep Specialist at UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

One study found tonsillectomies along with removing the adenoids improved sleep for 80 to 90 percent of kids.

"Even kids who don't have official abnormalities on their sleep study but have big tonsils and snore," Dr. Boyce explained, "actually benefit cognitively from having their tonsils removed, and they do better in school."

Sleep disorders may also disguise themselves. In a pediatrics study, 28 percent of kids referred to a doctor for sleep problems also had ADHD. After treating the sleep disorder, 50 percent no longer qualified for an ADHD diagnosis.

In teens, sleep problems impact academics. In one study, a-students received 15 more minutes of sleep than b students who got 11 more minutes of shut-eye than c students.

Doctors say fixing nighttime problems is a start to solving daytime stress for kids of all ages.

Dr. Boyce says about one-third of kids have trouble sleeping. Doctors say kids in grade school should get up to 12 hours of sleep each night. Teens typically need about nine hours of shut-eye.

UNC Patient Info. Line
Chapel Hill, NC
(919) 966-7890

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