young girl sitting against wall with her stuffed animal, looking sadSleep-disordered breathing is a broad term for breathing difficulties during sleep. It can range from light snoring to full-blown pediatric sleep apnea, but every point along the spectrum indicates some sort of blockage in the airway that disrupts your child’s sleep.

When an adult has sleep apnea, cognitive impairments come in memory problems, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. These same impairments happen to children who have sleep-disordered breathing, except the effect of these symptoms can be detrimental to your child’s learning and behavior. Young age is a time of immense learning. Children acquire new knowledge through their actions, watching others, and school. They learn to behave and how to pay attention. When they’re tired every day from fragmented sleep, they can’t perform their best. What comes out is a child who struggles in school, struggles to behave, and feels inadequate.

Sleep-disordered breathing in children isn’t as common as adult sleep apnea, so it’s not talked about. But it’s a real issue that can put a damper on the rest of your child’s life. Researchers have discovered that sleep-disordered breathing is linked to behavioral problems in children and think that some diagnoses’ of ADHD or other behavioral issues could really be a symptom of sleep-disordered breathing.