7 Startling Facts About Sleep Disorders (One you really need to know about)

If asked, it seems that nearly everyone has some sort of sleep disorder – insomnia, snoring, waking up due to reflux and hearburn, you name it.  Here are the numbers.

1.   It is estimated that 18 Million Americans have OSA (obstructive sleep apnea)

2.   More than 80% of those have not been officially diagnosed, and don’t get treated

3.   People with OSA have increased risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Death

4.   20-40% of all adults have insomnia during any year

5.   Over 2 Million children suffer from sleep disorders, but children are affected differently than adults:

  • kids may be fatigued during the day, but more likely
  • they will be bouncing off the walls
  • they may have attention problems:
    some children with “ADHD” simply aren’t sleeping
  • they may have behavioral problems
  • they may be unable to concentrate
  • they may be grumpy and irritable

6.   30-40% of children do not sleep enough

7.   Sleep problems account for $15.9 Billion of our annual health care bill

Adult snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is pretty complex.  If you or other adults in your life have sleep problems, please have them checked out by a physician who is specially trained and certified in managing sleep disorders.  It could make a huge difference! It could save your life.

Fortunately, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in children is pretty straight-forward.  Most of them are simply cured by removing the most common obstruction – their tonsils and adenoids.  I am not advocating tonsillectomy for all your children.  Just that, if your child is snoring and struggling to catch their breath while sleeping, please have them checked out.

Chronic obstructive sleep apnea has serious side effects.  If your child’s OSA can be cured by a tonsillectomy, that is high-yield.

For my own children, apnea – especially when they had a “cold” – was a huge problem. Caused daytime behavioral issues. Cured by removing the obstruction. This is one of those areas where there just aren’t any great alternatives to surgery.

Of course, now that so many of us (and our children) are obese, that may be contributing to the problem.  Obesity plays a role in obstruction of the upper airway.  If your child is struggling during sleep and they are obese, please ask your pediatrician about it. Check out a great post, and great links regarding childhood obesity, on Littlestomaks.com

If you or your child have any of the Chronic Aero-digestive Inflammatory Disorders – sleep disorders, asthma, otitis, rhinitis, reflux, sinusitis – check back here often for information and resources for managing these, and improving your life.

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Stay Healthy.


Thanks for visiting, and see you here again.  I appreciate your comments and questions.  Keep ‘em coming.  Please, “be excellent to one another.”

Best of health and success to you and your families.

Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor :~D)

I promise to continue to work hard to help empower you with knowledge: to improve your health and the health of your children. RF


  1. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about sleep apnea treatment in children. My son has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and chronic sinusitis. One doctor insisted his adenoids and tonsils needed to be removed without even examining him. Another said that they look fine. Using Nasonex offered relief, but came with side effects. How do you generally treat sleep apnea in children?

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Eve,

      Thanks so much for visiting my medical education blog site, and for taking time to leave a comment.

      Sleep apnea in children, especially otherwise “normal children, is usually obstructive sleep apnea, meaning that they have sleep apnea because they are obstructing. Most often children obstruct their airways during sleep due to large tonsil and adenoid tissue. Also common (more so than in adults), children may not actually have apnea and stop breathing, but they may simply work too hard and not breathe enough. This results in “hypo-ventilation”, and “hypoxea”, where they do not get sufficient oxygen into their lungs, and their CO2 levels build up. Not good. These children can have behavioral problems (“ADHD”), and over time this condition can cause permanent changes to their lungs and heart.

      I can’t possibly know what your child’s situation is without examining them, but my recommendation is always the same: establish a relationship with a physician that you can trust, and that you communicate well with. Then, share the decision-making with them. I will say that, in my experience, sleep pathology is the most persuasive reason to recommend a tonsillectomy.

      Best success,


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  5. Rae Ann says:

    Dear Dr. Russell Faust, thank you so much for your kind and compassionate responses. I have never had sinus or sleep problems my whole life until 5 months ago my cousin attacked me in a violent rage and hit me in the nose. I am a 49yr old female. I went to see an ENT and he said had a deviated septum. I then told him my sleep was also being disturbed by waking up on ave. 5x a night every 1.5 hrs. and just before i doze off into a deep sleep. He told me to see a sleep doctor and he will do surgery for the deviated septum but could offer no other information? So i set out to learn and do my own research. I have discovered that when i wear nasal dialators to open up my airways, i breath much better. If i don’t wear them, i am awakened by a tiny snort coming from my Nasal passage way. It feels like my mucous is not draining right. I use Neti pot and that helps clear away alot of the built up mucous and helps with baby snort waking me up but i still wake up…sometimes i have even tried to catch a breath and woke up. Also from my own research, it seems i may have UARS, the “cousin” to sleep Apnea and a similar breathing disorder but because UARS people are sensitive sleepers, they wake up Just before the problem occurs? Doctor, my question is .. where do i go from here? I am not getting any restorative sleep. Should i request a CT scan or do the sleep study? I don’t want to be on a CPAP machine my whole life if a surgery will fix it, i would rather pay for surgery. Any and all help will be much appreciated as i search for answers! Thank you so much!!

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Rae Ann:

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      NObody wants to be on CPAP! I have tried it, just to get a sense of what my sleep-apnea patients go through: like trying to sleep wearing a SCUBA mask!

      My best advice to you is to find a great sleep center. There are several kinds of doctors who treat UARS and OSA, but each has their unique perspective and approach. You want a CENTER that integrates a variety of experts who work together for the best customize solution for you!

      Thanks again, and best success.

  6. Amazing post on Sleep Apnea! Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder and It does needs immediate medical consult..This post was very Helpful to me and I really enjoyed reading your article..Thanks.

  7. I snore in my sleep and my husband had to wake me up last night. He didn’t wake me up from the sound, though, but he said it was like I had stopped breathing. Could this mean that I have obstructive sleep apnea?

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      That is obstructive sleep apnea from your description.
      I recommend that you see a sleep specialist for evaluation.
      Best success.

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