The same sleep studies used to diagnose sleep-related disorders in adults are used for children. The diagnostic study measures multiple biological functions during sleep to better assess your child’s sleep-related problem. For children diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed PAP therapy, a second follow-up titration study is performed to determine optimal settings on the PAP device to eliminate the sleep apnea.
Performing a sleep study on a child is exactly the same as conducting a sleep study on an adult. During the night, the child will sleep at our sleep clinic and be monitored by sleep technologists. Since the sleep technologist will expect the assistance of a parent, guardian or caregiver during the night, it is critical for the adult to stay overnight in the same room with the child. Accommodations are available in each room for one adult to attend to the child during the night.
What happens during the sleep study?
Once you arrive at the sleep clinic for your child’s scheduled study, a sleep technologist will welcome you and show you to your private bedroom. If your child has not been preregistered, there will be paperwork for you to complete.
The room where the sleep study is conducted is similar to a hotel room; it is dark and quiet during the sleep study. Your child does not share the room with anyone else. The room has a video camera, so that the sleep technologist can see what’s happening in the room when the lights are out, and an audio system, so that he or she can talk to you and hear you from the monitoring area outside your room.
After your child changes into his or her sleepwear, the sleep technologist will explain the procedure and what to expect during the night. Electrodes and sensors will be placed on your child’s head, chest, and legs to monitor his or her brain waves, heart activity and body movements during sleep. Areas where the electrodes and sensors will be attached are cleaned and then the electrodes and sensors are attached with a mild adhesive, such as special gels, paste or tape. In some cases, a paste adhesive will be used to attach the electrodes and the child’s head will be wrapped with a bandage material to keep them in place. These electrodes and sensors are connected by wires to a small portable box on the nightstand that transmits signals to the sleep monitoring and recording equipment in the nearby control room where the sleep technologist monitors the recording.
As preparations are underway for the sleep study, your child may watch television or a favorite DVD brought from home. We expect parents or caregivers to be active participants during the child’s hook-up procedure. A trained sleep technologist will operate the diagnostic equipment and be stationed all night in an adjacent control room to monitor the sleep recording and ensure your child’s comfort and well-being. If you need assistance, you can talk to the sleep technologist through the monitoring equipment.
We will attempt to adhere to your child’s usual bedtime, if possible. Typically, we begin waking patients at 6:00 a.m., unless a later or earlier wake up time is desirable.
What should I bring for the child’s stay in the sleep clinic?
- You will be requested to have your child dress in his/her pajamas (two-piece without feet). Nightgowns and one-piece pajamas sets are not acceptable attire.
- You may bring the child’s books, toys, a favorite stuffed animal, special pillow and/or blanket, white noise device, if desired. Your child will need something to read or play with during non-sleep periods.
- Please bring the list of medications that your child is currently taking along with any medications that he or she may need to take during the night.
- Please bring any special food that your child may need during his or her stay in the sleep clinic, such as milk bottles. The sleep clinic does not provide any of these items.
- Please bring your child’s personal toiletries (diapers, comb, brush, etc.) and a change of clothes for the next day.
- Please do not bring animals, unless medically authorized.
How will my child be able to sleep with all of the electrodes and sensors attached to him or her?
Most children sleep well in the sleep clinic. They may be apprehensive about the hook-up, depending on their age, but our experienced technologists will work to reassure them. The body sensors are applied in a manner that will allow the child to turn and move during sleep. As the sleep study is performed, the technologist will explain all of the procedures to the parent, caregiver and child to make the testing environment comfortable and to ensure that the sleep study goes smoothly. All children must be in the company of a parent, caregiver or family member during their stay at the sleep clinic.
Will the electrodes and sensors cause discomfort?
Sometimes, in preparing the sites for electrode and sensor placement there are mild temporary irritations; please inform us if your child has any known sensitivity to particular tapes or if he or she has a latex allergy.