A good night's sleep is important to our children's development. But with the first day of school just passed, many children are at increased risk for sleep breathing disorders that can impair their mental and physical development and hurt their academic performance.
A study conducted in North America in 2011 showed that the frequency of sleep-disordered breathing increases in the winter and spring. Until now, researchers believed asthma, allergies, and viral respiratory infections like the flu contributed to disorders that affect children's breathing during sleep.
Now, in a new study conducted at the Pediatric Sleep Center at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and published in the journal Sleep Medicine, Dr. Riva Tauman and her fellow researchers of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University have shown that asthma and allergies do not contribute to pediatric sleep-disordered breathing. Viruses alone, they say, may be responsible for the seasonal variation seen in children.
The researchers say the study has broad implications for the treatment of sleep-breathing disorders in children, bolstering the idea that the time of year is relevant when treating children for sleep-disordered breathing in borderline cases.
Blowing hot and cold
"We knew from research and clinical practice that sleep-disordered breathing in children gets worse during the colder months," Dr. Tauman says. "What we didn't expect is that the trend has nothing to do with asthma or allergies."
"Sleep-disordered breathing" is a blanket term for a group of disorders. One of the common disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the upper airway becomes blocked, usually by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, causing snoring and, in more severe cases, breathing pauses that lead to poor-quality and fragmented sleep and decreased oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream.
In the long term, sleep-di
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University