When your child doesn’t sleep well, nor do you. Whilst it’s normal for babies and very young children to wake through the night, by the time your child becomes a toddler, he or she should be sleeping much better. Many persistent sleep issues are caused by an obstruction of the airways, where the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse sufficiently to cause a partial blockage of the trachea. The good news is, your KIDS dentists can help!
How do I know if my toddler’s sleep patterns are abnormal?
If your child routinely wakes at night and does not settle himself/herself back to sleep, it may indicate an underlying problem known as Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). Symptoms include:
- Snoring or loud breathing
- Interrupted breathing (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea affects as many as 6% of children)
- Poor sleep quality and frequent night waking
- Nighttime crying
- Daytime sleepiness
- Attention problems
Countless scientific studies have found that SDB can restrict the oxygen supply to a child’s brain and cause a number of associated health and wellbeing issues. These include:
- Disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your child’s jawbone to the skull.
- Attention issues – it is estimated that two-thirds of children with an ADHD disorder suffer from interrupted sleep.
How can I help my toddler sleep better?
Sleeping on the back and being overweight will both contribute towards SDB, so these are two areas to address, if applicable. You can also try the following tips to help your child get to sleep:
- Establish a calming, predictable bedtime routine
- If your toddler wakes up hungry in the night, try giving them a bowl of cereal and milk before bed (make sure you brush their teeth afterwards).
- If your toddler is afraid of the dark, try a nightlight or leave a dim light on.
- Don’t let your child look at laptops, tablets or phones in the hour before bed
- Going into your child during the night, be quiet and still – leave lights off, avoid eye contact and don’t talk more than necessary.
- Avoid long naps in the afternoon.
What treatment options can help my toddler’s Sleep Disordered Breathing?
Here at KIDS, we have had great success addressing toddler sleep issues using Myobrace – a simple and effective pre-orthodontic treatment, worn for 1-2 hours each day and whilst sleeping. The custom-fitted Myobrace device works by providing light pressure on the hard palate, gently reshaping it over time so that your child breathes easier at night and thus sleeps better.
Your child will also be given a personalised programme of Myobrace app-based exercises to encourage correct tongue placement and help the teeth and jaw realign to their natural position. Regular appointments at KIDS help us monitor progress and make any adjustments that may be required to your child’s app programme.
The friendly, professional team at KIDS are always happy to answer any questions you may have, and will discuss treatment options tailored exactly to the needs of you and your family.