Childrens Asthma: Problems When Sleeping
The majority of children have some difficulty during the night. To wake a couple of hours after going to sleep with a nasty cough is common. As is snoring, bed-wetting, and restless sleeping [thrashing about and waking often].
There is a simple explanation, and a direct solution. Remember the simple lesson of the mouse and the elephant. The only way to cause asthma is by breathing like a big ......elephant. One of the easiest ways to breath like an elephant is to sleep on your back. In this position there is no resistance to huge deep breaths. Turning on your side makes it physically more difficult to breathe so deeply ó your body pushes down on your lungs more.
The other problem with being asleep is that your mouth will usually open this allows us to breathe even more deeply. On top of this our breathing gets deeper as our sleep gets deeper. When we are in our deepest sleep, our breathing is at its deepest ó very deep indeed if we are on lying on our backs with our mouths open! Too deep.
This elephantine breathing cause loss of more CO2 than we produce, the level gets dangerously low, and various defenses including spasm of smooth muscle and increased mucus production kick into gear. So your child starts coughing, snoring or wheezing, or the constriction of the smooth muscle around the bladder causes it to feel very full and bed wetting occurs. [Snoring is just your throat closing a little to try to stop you breathing like an elephant.]
The answer to this is to keep your mouth closed when you are asleep. The Manual contains a full section on this, but in brief, use surgical tape to keep your childs mouth closed. Do this only on children over 5 years. It has been used on younger children, and the reason I suggest this age is to ensure that the child has the ability to pull the tape off him if needed.
Before you write this idea off as absurd and dangerous listen to the instructions. The goal is to have just enough sticking power on the tape for it to stay on, and keep the lips together.
The tape recommended is called surgical or paper tape about 1 inch wide, available from a pharmacist. Tear off a strip about 2 inches [5 cms].
Fold a small tab on each end, so that it is easy to grip. Then repeatedly put the tape onto your palm and tear it off. Do this until it is hardly sticky at all.
It does not need much power to keep your lips together. Ensure your mouth is closed, as you can breathe through this tape, and gently place in lengthways along your lips. I suggest you do this on yourself first to show your child that you are also doing it. [It will greatly improve your sleep quality if you actually wear it in bed.]
Have a practice during the day with the tape so there is less if any drama at bedtime. Check on the child around 3.30 am to check he has not pulled it off. Re-apply it if necessary.
If it is off and you do not re-apply it, then your child will have no protection during the deepest sleep/breathing period, and will start the next day dealing with the results of huge elephant breathing. This may be asthma, bedwetting or just plain tiredness. As with the breathing drills, this is as important as brushing your teeth!
The most common concern with this is that your nose will block up will your mouth is taped closed and you will suffocate. Fortunately, the effect of CO2 on your nose makes this impossible. The more blocked your nose becomes, the more CO2 you will trap in. The extra CO2 will cause your nose to unblock. So your nose will not block completely unless you open your mouth. It may whistle a bit, but cannot close up completely.
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