Ask The Sleep Doctor: Sleep Apnea in Child, Palpitations, Coffee and Sleep and more

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My son is 15 years old. When he was eight he had his tonsils and adenoids removed for sleep apnea. He has gained a lot of weight, is snoring, and tired during the day. He is doing poorly in school. Could his sleep apnea have come back?

A:

Yes. In fact, several studies have pointed out that in children with significant weight gain, the incidence of recurrent sleep apnea is high. Considering the symptoms you are describing, I would discuss it with his health care provider. Retesting for sleep apnea is probably a good idea.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I have been awakening with palpitations for the past few months. My doctor put a cardiac monitor on me and noted what he called runs of ventricular extra beats. As part of my workup, he wants me to have a home sleep test to make sure I don’t have sleep apnea. Is that common?

A:

The occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias, which happen predominantly at night, always raises the suspicion of sleep-disordered breathing. I agree with your doctor that screening you with a home sleep test is a good idea. Treating the sleep apnea, if present, can significantly improve treatment of the arrhythmia.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I have a lot of trouble falling asleep. My husband suggested I limit my coffee intake. I usually have a cup with dinner. Can that affect my sleep?

A:

Yes, it takes three to five hours for the average person to metabolize a cup of coffee. However, many of us are slower metabolizers. My suggestion is that you stick to decaf at dinner and see if you don’t fall asleep much easier. It is worth a try.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband is 60 years old. He sleeps only five hours a night. I have heard that this amount of sleep can cause heart problems. Is that true? It worries me.

A:

Yes, several studies have shown that short sleep, as defined by less than six hours, can increase atherosclerosis. In fact, a study just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrated that those who slept six hours or less and those with poor quality sleep (defined by how often a person awakened during the night and the frequency of movements during the sleep which reflect the sleep phases), had a much higher incidence of atherosclerosis. The take home message for many is to turn off those computers and cell phones and get seven to eight hours of sleep.

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Internal Medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website www.AnswersForSleep.com which offers a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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