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Doctors say poor sleep can affect your heart health and your mind

Sleep apnea can affect heart health in children
Posted at 7:19 PM, Sep 02, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Doctors say getting enough hours of sleep is important for children, but getting good quality sleep is what matters most.

"If there’s things that are disrupting sleep whether that environment is too hot or it’s too noisy or the lights are on, those are all things that can affect your sleep," said Dr. Casey Burg, Division Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary and Allergy, and Director of Children's Hospital's sleep lab.

A disorder called sleep apnea can affect a good night's rest.

"The thing about having obstructive sleep apnea, it disrupts your sleep because you’ll hold your breath or you won’t be able to get oxygen delivered normally and you’re not ventilating well, so the carbon dioxide rises and wakes you up," said Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith, a preventative pediatric cardiologist who also works with the American Heart Association.

Baker-Smith also says sleep apnea can be associated with heart health issues in children. She says high blood pressure, cholesterol, hypertension and more can be a result of the sleep disorder. Baker-Smith suggests looking for things such as snoring or gasping as those can be signs of sleep apnea.

Disrupted sleep can also affect your mind. Doctors say not getting a good night's rest can lead to bad grades in school.

"That helps with the learning process. It makes it so they’re alert and can retain the information they’re hearing throughout the day in school settings. It can be linked with better grades in school also," Burg said.

Doctors say parents should make sure their child is on a good sleep schedule.

"Having that wind-down period before bedtime is also helpful so they’re not having anything that’s alerting to them, playing video games can be alerting for kids and trying to avoid some of that before bedtime. Exposure to bright lights or blue light can actually increase your chance of staying awake and falling asleep," Burg said.