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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : vitality September 30, 2014

8/4/2012 9:58:00 PM
Nighttime TV ban may cure obnoxiousness in kids
Courier Columnist

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My 7-year-old grandson stays with us for a month during the summer. He seems to be well-behaved, calm and happy. My daughter states that when at home he is irritable, cranky, defiant and cannot sit still. When he arrives, we take the television out of the bedroom. He complains at first because he is allowed to watch TV in bed at home. I think this may be the difference. Does that make sense?

A: Yes. Television-watching at bedtime is a leading cause of insufficient sleep in children. If left to their own devices, many children will stay up late in to the night watching TV. This leads to a lack of sleep, which can manifest with the behaviors you describe in your grandson. I would point out to your daughter how restricting television from the bedroom has improved your grandchild's behavior.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My wife can drink coffee right up until bedtime and have no trouble falling asleep. I, on the other hand, have found that if I consume anything with caffeine after 4 p.m. I have a hard time falling and staying asleep. Why is this?

A: Recent studies have shown that those sensitive to caffeine may have a genetic (inherited) predisposition to its sleep preventing properties. It would appear from these studies that in some people, caffeine consumption disrupts the secretion of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, while in others it has little to no effect. We do not yet have a simple test to discriminate people who are more susceptible, but it may be on the horizon.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My son is 8 years old. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and had his tonsils and adenoids removed. However, he still has sleep apnea. I have been advised that he needs to wear a CPAP mask. Do children keep these on at night?

A: Yes, depending on several factors. Maternal education has been found to be the most important factor in childhood compliance. In addition, families of lower socioeconomic status have a poorer rate of compliance. Finally, younger children do better in terms of usage than adolescents. This may be due to a feeling of invincibility common in the adolescent population. Untreated sleep apnea in children can lead to growth retardation, cognitive dysfunction and premature heart disease, so I would advise you to get your child treated.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband had a stroke. The doctors could not find a cause for it. Now the neurologist is recommending that he have a sleep study. He does not snore, so what is the likelihood that this will tell them anything new?

A: Recent studies have shown several things that will make your husband's sleep study worth doing. First, 70 percent of all stroke patients have sleep apnea. Second, 25 percent of them did not snore. Finally, the highest incidence was in those where there was no obvious cause. Sleep apnea can cause a stroke due to elevations in blood pressure, decreased cerebral blood flow and a tendency to cause blood to clot more easily. Many neurologists are recommending routine testing for sleep apnea in those with strokes.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, will answer readers' questions by incorporating them in future columns. Contact him at askthesleepdoc@yahoo.com or via mail at the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, 3259 N. Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.

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