Many children suffer from nightmares or bad dreams. If you're a parent, it's likely that you've experienced your child running into your room in the wee hours because of a bad dream they've experienced. This can be distressing for you as a parent as well as creating emotional discomfort for your child. While for many children nightmares and bad dreams happen on occasion, these issues can be indicative of a deeper problem - obstructive sleep apnea.
If your child's airway isn't fully open and able to provide them with adequate oxygen during sleep, it may create bodily stress and raise cortisol levels. This in turn can manifest as nightmares or bad dreams. In other words, struggling for air during sleep can be interpreted by the body as psychological danger and express itself as a nightmare.
There are many causes of obstructive sleep apnea (which must be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional), but in children it may be caused by jaw malformation due to overly processed food, lack of breastfeeding, and prolonged thumb sucking. It's critical to treat sleep disordered breathing early on in a child's life to prevent other issues associated with the condition, such as bedwetting, mouth breathing, or delayed or stunted growth.
If your child is experiencing nightmares or bad dreams, it's important to have them screened for obstructive sleep apnea as soon as possible. Not only are nightmares emotionally distressing to a child, but constant waking can impact the circadian rhythm of parents or caretakers. Request an appointment at Chester Dental Care today to find out if we can help alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate sleep disordered breathing in your child.
We serve the greater Richmond area with sleep dentistry and airway health services, as well as providing care for patients in Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Charles City, Prince George, and Goochland counties. Our collaborative team of healthcare professionals can help your child get relief and experience deep, restorative, uninterrupted sleep. Are you ready for your child to breathe right, sleep tight, and smile bright?