RESPIRATION DURING SLEEP IN CHILDREN WESTERN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Carskadon, M. A., Harvey, K., Dement, W. C., Guilleminault, C., SIMMONS, F. B., Anders, T. F. 1978; 128 (6): 477-481


In 22 children (11 boys and 11 girls), aged 9 to 13 years, respiration was monitored during one night of sleep. No child had a significant history of breathing problems during sleep. Sleep was recorded using standard techniques (electroencephalography, electrooculography, electromyography), and respiration was measured with nasal thermistors and abdominal or thoracic strain gauges. Respiratory pauses (five seconds or longer) were determined for all sleep stages. Respiratory rate was scored only in the first and last sleep cycles and during ten waking minutes before sleep onset. Respiratory rate was significantly affected by wakefulness or stage of sleep: highest in wakefulness and stage 1, lowest in stage 2 of the last sleep cycle. Regularity of respiratory rate showed a similar effect. Variance of respiratory rate was significantly lower in girls than boys. Respiratory pauses during sleep were seen in every child, ranging from 3 to 40 pauses per night (average, 17.2 for boys and 18.0 for girls). Significantly greater numbers of pauses per minute were seen in stage 1 and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than in stages 2, 3 and 4. The longest respiratory pause was 25 seconds. The conclusion is made that a small number of respiratory pauses during sleep are normal in children of this age.

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