If you’re a parent who’s taken a flashlight to your child’s mouth (and it isn’t the first time) you might find anything from enlarged tonsils to swollen red glands. Having your child’s tonsils (tonsillectomy) or adenoids removed (adenoidectomy) is something many parents consider. .  Now ask yourself, “How’s my child sleeping at night?”

If your child has enlarged tonsils and complains of feeling tired during the day, find out if he or she has any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing during the day/night
  • Complains of being tired
  • Seems irritable or moody during the day
  • Trouble concentrating during the day
  • Ear infections
  • Sore throat
  • Snores

You could camp out in your child’s room for a night or try placing a baby monitor in their  room so  you can hear if they snore or have pauses in breathing.  Enlarged tonsils/adenoids could be causing more than trouble during the day;  they could also be blocking your child’s airway making it difficult to breath or even get a good night’s sleep. Enlarged  tonsils could also lead to  trouble swallowing, speech problems and even mouth breathing.

The most effective way to diagnose and treat a sleeping disorder is to have your child spend the night at a sleep center. A sleep study is a non invasive procedure and usually only requires one overnight stay.  If your  child is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian  will need to stay the night with them.  This helps them to feel more relaxed, too. The results of a sleep study can tell your doctor whether  your child has a sleep disorder such as  sleep apnea or snoring.

If your child’s snoring or sleep apnea (breathing pauses) are severe enough that they disrupt your child’s sleep, your pediatrician or Ear, nose and throat doctor might want you to consider having your child’s tonsils or adenoids removed. Because if your child’s sleep is being constantly disrupted, they’re  losing the restful sleep their mind and body need to feel refreshed.

If you’re unsure whether your child’s sleep is a real concern there are some more obvious signs that you can look for in your child:

Eye Rub/Yawning:  While rubbing your eyes or yawning is often seen in a child just before bedtime or even early in the morning, it should not last all day.  If your child is constantly rubbing their eyes and telling you they’re tired,  pay close attention to their sleep behaviors to screen for a possible sleeping disorder like snoring or sleep apnea.

Learning problems: If it’s hard to keep your child alert or focused during school or other activities, the first thing you might think is that they might have a behavioral disorder like ADD or ADHD. A sleep problem is often overlooked and a diagnosis is made without ruling out that a sleep disorder even exists.  If your child is tired, moody or irritable, it might be because they are sleep deprived. Ask your doctor to look into this before handing down a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD.

Obesity:  The added weight can also contribute to added tissue fat in the neck that collapses during sleep. Keep your child at a healthy weight by implementing a proper and healthy diet along with routine exercise. Make healthy eating and exercise part of the family routine and it will be easier to implement and will be fun (and healthy) for everyone.

It is possible for your child to have a sleep disorder unrelated to their tonsils or adenoids.  Try getting them on healthy sleep routine and if they still appear tired during the day, consult your child’s pediatrician.

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; https://valleysleepcenter.com