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My Daughter's Restless Nights, Struggling To Get Enough Air

by Leigh

My 5 year old daughter is having problems resting at night. I've noticed that she will be in a deep sleep and all at once start gasping for air. She is really restless when she gets like this.

Her body sometimes raises straight up and she'll look like she's going to get up but she just sits on the bed and looks around, but her eyes are closed. She is unresponsive when I talk to her. But sometimes, she mumbles like she is talking in her sleep.

Once I get her attention, she is really groggy and responsive to whatever I ask her but gets upset because she thinks I woke her up.

I have no clue what this could be. She says it's not nightmares or any dream, she don't complain that she's sick. She can't get comfortable and she's all over the bed. All the while, taking long, deep breaths like she can't get enough air. This only happens when she is in a deep sleep.

If anyone has experienced this with their child and has answers, please respond back.

Kevin: Hi Leigh, Thanks for writing in. Since you mention there are breathing issues related to your daughter's restless-looking sleep, it is likely that sleep apnea is involved. It is not altogether uncommon in children. It is caused sometimes by large tonsils, but can also be caused by other things related to the structure of the child's palate and airway.

The micro-awakenings that occur when a child with sleep apnea struggles to breath can trigger other deep sleep sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking and sleep talking. The pressure the struggle puts on the body can also confuse the bladder system and lead to bedwetting.

If any of this sounds familiar or if you'd like to check more into sleep apnea, it would likely be wise to consult your daughter's pediatrician. I wish you all the best!


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

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