Sleeping Problems and Childhood Obesity: What’s the Link?

Do you hear your child when they are sleeping? Snoring, heavy or noisy breathing, and gasps for breath are all signs that they are not getting a good nights rest. Childhood obesity is linked to many breathing problems that can leave your child tired, irritable, and not able to think clearly during the day.

Here is a list of several types of breathing problems:

  • Snoring
  • Restless sleeping
  • Heavy or noisy breathing
  • Sleeping sitting up
  • Frequent waking during the night
  • Sleep apnea

Here is a list of the daytime symptoms caused by breathing problems:

  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Napping
  • Poor school performance
  • Inattentiveness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Increased blood pressure

If your child is not sleeping well, make an appointment with your doctor. After an examination, the doctor may suggest your child go to a sleep clinic to be properly diagnosed. At the sleep clinic your child will be observed sleeping overnight. Sleep apnea can usually be diagnosed in one night, while, other problems may take several visits. Your child will sleep with electrodes attached to them at several points on their body. A computer will read their brain waves, eye movements, muscle tension and breathing patterns. The clinicians will also usually film your child sleeping. After the visit a doctor will analyze the computer readings and the film and help you develop a sleep plan for your child.