Pediatric Sleep Studies
Our Sleep Disorders Program at Children's Health℠ uses a Sleep Studies Lab to diagnose sleep disorders and Sleep Medicine to treat them. Our Sleep Studies Lab performs more than 4,000 sleep studies a year, giving us real-time data to accurately diagnose children who have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or remaining awake during the day.
The Sleep Disorders Center offers clinical evaluation, diagnosis and management of all forms of sleep disorders. Your child may need to undergo several kinds of tests in order for doctors to diagnose his or her condition properly.
Because we work only with children and adolescents, our rooms and equipment are set up to make your child feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
- Polysomnogram – This is an overnight test which records different sleep stages, and monitors your child during the night for signs of various sleep disorders. The test is done with sensors which are secured with gel and placed on your child’s head, chin, legs, chest and near the eyes. There is no pain involved in the placing of these sensors. Your child’s oxygen levels and breathing will also be monitored. A staff member will explain what will be done before and while sensors are being placed on your child.
- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) – This test is taken the day after an overnight sleep study. It allows doctors to determine how tired a child is the next day. This test is typically used for children suspected of having narcolepsy or hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness). Your child will take 20-minute naps every two hours during the day.
- Maintenance wakefulness test – For this test, your child will remain at Children’s the day after an overnight study, but will stay awake all day. This is used to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment.
Equipment that might be used during the study include:
- EEG - measures brain activity
- EMG - records muscle activity
- EOG - records eye movement
- EKG - tracks heart rhythm
- Machine to record airflow
- Microphone to track snoring
How old does a child have to be for a sleep study, and what is measured?
Sleep studies are appropriate for children over the age of 2. However, studies are performed on pre-mature infants born as young as 28 weeks up to the age of 18.
It is important to know that none of the devices is painful. Most children quickly become accustomed to the monitors and are able to sleep well through the night.
What is the study designed to show?
Depending on the results of the study, we will be able to determine if your child has conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, night terrors or periodic limb movement disorder.
Even if your child is diagnosed with one of these conditions, treatment is not always necessary. Children will grow out of some of these sleep problems, and others are easily treated with medication, behavioral changes or devices like CPAP machines.
Can I stay with my child overnight?
Yes. One caregiver is allowed to stay in the room overnight with a child, but other siblings are not. Children under the age of 16 must have a caregiver in the room.
What happens the next morning?
The overnight sleep study usually ends at around 7 a.m. Some children will be asked to remain the next day as well to gauge their sleepiness or effectiveness of treatment.