Not Just for Adults: Sleep Apnea Can Affect Children, too.

Here are surprising, little-known tips for better sleep…

(Issued Spring 2017) — Do you or someone you know wake up tired? Do others complain about your snoring? Some 22 million Americans have sleep apnea (even kids), but most don’t know it.  Sleep apnea is serious and sneaky.

With sleep apnea, airway muscles relax and the throat narrows, reducing airflow, explains Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics. This brief breathing pause can occur hundreds of times each night, preventing vital REM sleep.  The sufferer may think they slept all night, but insidious sleep apnea can lead to chronic fatigue and more serious consequences.

While sleep apnea is usually associated with overweight, middle-aged males, studies show that sleep apnea affects 4% of youngsters, though it’s often misdiagnosed. A child’s lack of sleep can lead to ADHD, lower school performance and behavioral issues. Dr. Chase says, “Often we can resolve youth sleep issues non-surgically, perhaps even without an intra-oral appliance or CPAP.”

Dr. Chase says, “For any age person diagnosed with mild/ moderate sleep apnea, an orthodontist can fit a custom orthotic device — more comfortable, less invasive, and less costly than traditional CPAP.”  CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) involves a facemask and hose pumping oxygen to keep airways open. He says. “We’ve had success with this alternative that re-positions the jaw, bringing the tongue and soft palate forward to relieve obstruction.”

Long-term sleep deprivation can result in high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, dementia, memory problems, obesity, diabetes and depression, plus highway and workplace accidents. Here are several surprising tips to improve your sleep:

  • Wear socks to warm your feet.
  • Discuss light topics before bedtime (no politics or finances!).
  • Eat your last meal 3 – 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid spicy (pepper, garlic) and gaseous foods (beans, cauliflower).
  • Get daily vigorous exercise.
  • Read a physical book or magazine at bedtime instead of an iPad or other electronic device.

“In addition to creating beautiful smiles, we want everyone to sleep well, to be alert and healthy because there are so many reasons to smile every day. And you certainly don’t want to sleep through them.”

ARCH offers free consultations for all ages – a $500 value – and no-interest financing. ARCH also offers a courtesy discount to those in the military, veterans and members of their immediate families, and to municipal employees in the towns where ARCH has offices and their immediate families. For more info or to schedule a free consultation(781) 209-6776. ARCH, the Official Orthodontist of Miss Massachusetts, has seven offices south of Boston and two on Cape Cod.

–  By Stanley Hurwitz /   508-269-0570  /