During childhood, up to 40% of children have a sleep problem their parents consider significant. Many of these sleep problems are best evaluated with an overnight polysomnogram, which is commonly called a sleep study. In some cases your doctor may order a daytime nap test for your child in addition to the overnight sleep study. A sleep study is a valuable way to gather information that can improve your child’s sleep and health. It requires you and your child to spend a night in an accredited sleep center. With the right preparation, children can sleep well during the study.
WHY DO WE RECOMMEND SLEEP STUDIES FOR KIDS?
While a home sleep apnea test may be a good option for some adults, a sleep study at an accredited sleep center is the best choice for children because it is:
- Comprehensive: A sleep study gathers the most complete information about a child’s sleep.
- Effective: Data gathered by a sleep study can help your child’s doctor diagnose a variety of sleep disorders.
- Easy: A trained technician will handle the equipment and make sure everything works the way it should.
Gather more information about sleep studies. Children respond well to visuals. Show your child pictures or a video of how the sleep monitoring system will work.
TAKE A TOUR
Arrange a tour of the sleep center a day or two before the sleep study is scheduled. Your child can see the bedroom and the sleep equipment. This will help your child feel less nervous.
A child who knows what to expect during the sleep study will feel calm about the process. Reassure your child that there will be no needles, pain or discomfort during the sleep study. Try to keep yourself relaxed so that your child will feel more at ease.
MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
For most sleep studies, the sleep center will provide a space for parents to stay and sleep with their child, however parents do not sleep in the same bed as the child.
Bring items from home that your child usually sleeps with, such as a blanket, pillow, stuﬀed animal or nightlight. The sleep center staff will do everything possible to help your child follow a normal bedtime routine.
Sometimes the way that your brain and bodywork can keep you from sleeping well. By using a special test called a sleep study, your doctor can get information about what your brain and body are doing while you sleep. This information may help your doctor understand how you can sleep and feel better.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SLEEP STUDY?
- You will come to the sleep center with your parent, who will stay with you the whole time.
- You will meet a sleep technician, who will explain what is going to happen and answer any questions.
- The technician will attach special stickers, called electrodes, to your face, chest, and belly. The stickers might tickle!
- The technician will attach wires to the stickers. These wires will send information to a computer about what is happening in your body and brain while you sleep.
- You go to sleep! Your parent will sleep in a different bed in the same room.
- In the morning the technician will wake you up and gently take oﬀ the stickers. Then you’re all done!
Your doctor will look at the results of the study and may give you advice to help you sleep and feel better. Sleeping well every night is important because it keeps you healthy.
If you have any questions about your sleep study, just ask! We want you to enjoy spending the night at our sleep center.
- Talk to your board-certifed sleep medicine physician.
- Visit www.sleepeducation.org
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: CONTENT DEVELOPED BY THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF SLEEP MEDICINE