Posts Tagged ‘ PAP machine ’

What I Saw When I Watched My Daughter Sleep

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

My daughter, Leeana, has plenty of charming quirks, like her little sweaty feet, and the way that she breathes through her mouth when she’s really focused. But these little nuances became a big worry, when she began snoring.

This wasn’t the cute purring that some kids do in their sleep. Leeana’s snoring actually woke her father up in the middle of the night. It made me uneasy, so I brought her into our bed so that I could monitor her sleeping, and what I saw shook me to my core.

My daughter stopped breathing in her sleep at least 6 times while I watched. She would jerk herself awake, gasp for air, and continue snoring until she stopped breathing again.

When I took her to her pediatrician the next morning, she told me that Leeana has sleep apnea. An estimated 1 to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, according to SleepApnea.org, many of them being between 2 and 8 years old.

Our pediatrician also explained to us that her sweating and heavy breathing were symptoms of her condition. She said that, while it wasn’t something to run to the emergency room for, sleep apnea does have several long-term side effects.

“As many as 25 percent of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may actually have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, and much of their learning difficulty and behavior problems can be the consequence of chronic fragmented sleep,” reports SleepApnea.org. “Bed-wetting, sleep-walking, other hormonal and metabolic problems, even failure to thrive can be related to sleep apnea. Some researchers have charted a specific impact of sleep disordered breathing on ‘executive functions’ of the brain: cognitive flexibility, self-monitoring, planning, organization, and self-regulation of affect and arousal.”

Our pediatrician said that sleep apnea could be a result of oversized tonsils or adenoids. She also mentioned that a positive airway pressure (PAP) machine might help keep the airways open during sleep. The machine delivers pressurized air through a mask to hold the airways in the throat open.

I looked into these machines and found that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted a study on them last year. Researchers found that kids who used PAP machines had significant improvements after three months, even if the kids didn’t use it all the time. Although I’m worried about how comfortable she will be wearing it to sleep, if we do have to go that route, hopefully Leeana won’t need to use it for longer than a few months.

If your child is snoring, or has symptoms such as heavy breathing and sweating, be sure to discuss it with your pediatrician. It may also be worth it to stay up one night and monitor their sleep.

Leeana has an appointment with her ENT later this week. Hopefully a good night’s sleep is in her near future.

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