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Tips for Your Child’s Sleep Study

Tips for Your Child’s Sleep Study

By Amanda Jones RPSGT- A Sleep Technician Mommy

An in-lab sleep study can be stressful for the adult patient. But bringing your child in for a sleep study can be nerve-wracking for the both of you. Our Sleep Technician Manager (and mommy of 2) is here to help give you some tips for your child’s sleep study and what to expect.

Pediatric Sleep Study Tips

  • To best prepare your child, keep napping to a minimum on the day of the study. Keeping your child from napping may help them fall asleep easier in the lab. Of course, it may be difficult to prevent your child from falling asleep, but do your best to minimize napping the day of the study.
  • You and your child will be greeted by a friendly, experienced licensed sleep technologist. You both will be shown to your private room for the night. Our rooms have a queen size bed, TV, and an overstuffed recliner for your comfort.
  • The sleep technologist will go over any questions you may have prior to starting the study. Your child will be asked to sit in a computer chair while the wires are applied. The hook up can take up to 30 minutes, so if your child has an iPad, book, or toy they like, feel free to bring it!
  • During the hook up, the sleep tech will politely explain why the wires are being applied. This, in turn, will make your child feel more comfortable. As an example: For some younger children, some techs will say the wires will test for superpowers! This set-up includes the following equipment:
    • A bandage-like sensor that measures your child’s oxygen will be placed on the toe or finger
    • Small plastic prongs at the nose will measure your child’s exhaled air
    • Elastic or cloth belts will be placed on your child’s chest and stomach, usually over their pajamas
    • Stick-on electrodes will be placed on your child’s face and chest to measure eye movements, heart rate, and muscle tone during sleep.
      • A few additional electrodes are applied with a washable paste on your child’s scalp to measure stages of sleep
  • We do recommend and ask that the parent sleep in the recliner and not in the bed with the child. This is so we get a clear recording of your child’s movements and sleep patterns. If the parent were to sleep in the bed with a child and simply just change positions, it could cause the child to wake up or make it look like the child was moving their leg.
    • We understand that this can be stressful and at times scary for your little one, and they may need your comfort while laying in bed. This is OK. We only ask that once the child is asleep, you exit the bed quietly and move to the recliner to sleep.
  • If your child has any comfort items (blanket, stuffed animal, etc.), we recommend and welcome them to come to the sleep over as well!
  • If your child likes to have a bedtime snack or a specific nighttime drink (ex: milk), make sure to bring those as well. The lab does have a refrigerator, a water cooler with hot and cold water and a microwave, if needed.
  • No need to worry if your child is a restless sleeper. The sleep technologist will be monitoring your child and the leads throughout the night. They might have to come into the room a few times to adjust or reattach wires that come loose.
  • If your child has a hard time tolerating the study, don’t worry. The sleep technologist is experienced working with children and will work hard to get the proper data for the doctors. The doctors are great and are equipped to read the data collected, even if its not perfect.
  • If your child has bed-wetting accidents at night, that is not a problem! Kindly let the tech know so they can lay down extra protection.
  • The wires are pain-free to attach, as well as remove. We have adhesive remover on hand for an easy removal in the morning with little irritation! There will be some paste residue on the face and head once the wires are removed. This residue is water soluble and will wash out with warm water. Using conditioner can help make the paste removal easier, as well as micellar water or rubbing alcohol.

Pediatric Sleep Disorders

Up to 50% of children will experience a sleep problem. Early identification of sleep problems may prevent negative consequences, such as daytime sleepiness, irritability, behavioral problems, learning difficulties, motor vehicle crashes in teenagers, and poor academic performance.

Our goal at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center is to make you and your child’s experience as comfortable and beneficial as possible.

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19

Kids, Sleep and COVID-19
Boost your child’s immune system during COVID-19 Pandemic with quality sleep

Research shows that quality sleep is essential when it comes to health for both children and adults. Ensuring that your child gets an adequate amount of quality sleep can help boost their immune system and keep families healthy. This is a high priority during COVID-19, but also vital for health year-round.

Many kids today are struggling because of schooling issues, not being able to see their friends or play sports. They are not expending the same levels of energy as before COVID-19. Everyone’s routine has changed. Children may feel our stress or be anxious from listening to the news. All this can lead to poor sleep resulting in more meltdowns and unwanted behaviors.

A child’s poor sleep can be due to many issues like:

  • Lack of stimulation (physically and mentally)
  • Increased screen time with TV, computers, video games
  • Increased feelings of stress and anxiety

If your child is consistently not getting enough sleep,
they are three times more likely to get sick.

Sleep helps your body (adults and kids) produce immune-boosting cells to protect us.

That’s why, when we get sick, we also get tired. Your body is telling you that you need sleep to heal.
While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your child’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible.

The National Sleep Foundation has these recommendations for children:

Under 1 year of age: 12 to 16 hours a day
1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours a day
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours a day
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours a day
13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours a day

5 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP

  1. Make a schedule for sleep and daily activities (for both you and your children) – and do your best to keep consistent.
  2. Stop screen time 60 minutes before bedtime- Intense, close-up light exposure in the evening will delay sleep by not allowing the body to produce melatonin, the good sleep hormone. This is especially important since our kids are using more screen time during the day.
  3. Get sunlight- Try and get outside. Open up your blinds, take a walk, or play outside. The sun controls our internal 24-hour clock that tells our body when to be awake and when to be asleep. If your child’s body doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will mix up their days and nights.
  4. Your child needs physical activity – Kids days have likely gone from active to sedentary. The harder they play, the more their body will need to recover, and the better they’ll sleep.
  5. Create a calming routine – This routine should be at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Things like a warm bath, a good book, (no screen time), do a puzzle or something quiet. The best sleep results come from a routine that’s calm and technology-free.

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than just getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice stay-healthy strategies too.

Steps to Keep Children and Others Healthy

  1. Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
  3. Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. Keep children at least 6 feet from other people.Consider postponing visits or trips to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters.
  4. Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) the other everyday preventive actions listed above.
  5. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, desks, toilets, and sinks).
  6. Launder items including washable plush toys, as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    Make sure your children are up to date on well-child visits and immunizations.

Following guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be particularly difficult for children. Stay patient. Be a good role model and your child will be more likely to follow your lead. And remember, you children will be able to bounce back faster if they get sick if their body is well rested.

If your child continues to have sleep issues, or if you are concerned that your child may have a sleep disorder, the pediatric sleep medicine physicians at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center are here to help. Give us a call today. We are offering in-office as well as virtual office visits.

Sleep Study FAQ

SLEEP STUDY FAQ (ANSWERED BY A REGISTERED POLYSOMNOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGIST)

By Amanda Jones RPSGT

If you have questions about undergoing a sleep study, you’re not alone. Here are some FAQ that I get asked while working at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center as a Sleep Technologist. They may be able to help you understand the process and put you more at ease.

A sleep study, known as a polysomnogram, is an overnight test done in a sleep lab. Prior to the study, a sleep technologist will place sensors on your scalp, face, chest and legs. These sensors will record brainwave activity (to assess sleep stage), eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, body movements, nasal/oral airflow, respiratory effort and oxygenation. In addition, your body position will be observed on video camera. All this information will better assist your sleep physician in determining the cause of any sleep related problems.

Sleep Study FAQ

Q: WHY DO I NEED A SLEEP STUDY?

A: Sleep studies help doctors diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and nighttime behaviors like sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder.

Q: CAN MY SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER STAY WITH ME ON THE NIGHT OF MY STUDY?

A: Significant others may have helpful insight during the evaluation stage, but they are not usually permitted to stay with you on the night of your study. IF there is a reason they need to stay, please discuss it with your doctor during your consult.

Q: WHAT IF I CAN’T SLEEP?

A: Don’t stress, we don’t expect you to sleep as well as you would at home, and we take that into account. Nearly everyone can fall asleep during an in-lab study. In most cases, you do not need a full 6 hours of sleep for the doctor to make a diagnosis. There are several things you can do to help you sleep the night of your study. First consider waking a little earlier than usual on the day of your study. Do not take naps during the day. Avoid the consumption of all caffeine—skipping coffee, tea, soda pop, chocolate, energy drinks, and other caffeinated products.

Q: CAN I BRING MY OWN PILLOW?

A: Of course! We want you to be as comfortable as possible so you can sleep. Our sleep labs use My Pillows on each bed (one soft and one firm).  However, most people prefer their own pillow. In fact, if you have a special blanket or throw you sleep with, bring that as well! The more comfortable you feel the better you will sleep.

Q: WHAT ABOUT ALL THE WIRES? WILL THEY STAY ON ALL NIGHT?

A: After you arrive at the sleep center a technician will apply small sensors to your head and body with adhesive. The wires connecting the sensors to a headbox are usually gathered to the side with plenty of slack so you can move around during sleep. Elastic belts will be wrapped around your chest and abdomen to measure breathing. A clip will be placed on your finger or (in some cases your earlobe) to monitor oxygen levels in your bloodstream. Most people get used to it all very quickly. Everything is attached using medical tape and/or paste. The wires are attached to stay on all night. If anything does come loose the tech will enter the room to re-attach them during the night. We attempt to do this without waking the patient if possible. The sensors are attached to your body in a manner like electrocardiogram (EKG) electrodes and are not painful. In rare instances, some people with sensitive skin develop local irritation at the electrode sites. If you have experienced skin irritation due to EKG testing in the past, or have an adhesive allergy please notify the Sleep Center and the technologist prior to the study.

 Q: CAN I SLEEP ON MY SIDE? WHAT IF I MOVE AROUND IN MY SLEEP?

A: We want you to sleep in your natural position. Many people roll over and change positions multiple times during the night. While sleep apnea is more prevalent when sleeping on your back, the Technician may ask you to try sleeping on your back for a portion of the test. This allows us to check your breathing in multiple positions. IF you’re unable to, don’t worry! It may be very difficult to sleep on your stomach so the technician may ask you to use a pillow to keep you from rolling all the way onto your stomach.

Q: DURING MY SLEEP STUDY, WHAT IF I HAVE TO USE THE RESTROOM?

A: If you need to get up during your sleep study just notify your sleep technologist (by calling out or sitting up in the bed) and let them know that you need to use the restroom. They will unhook one or two central connections, which will enable you to get up and walk to the bathroom. The headbox even has a strap you can carry over your shoulder or around your neck. (The headbox is the device that all your wires connect into)

Q: MAY I SLEEP NAKED?

A: No. As a courtesy to our sleep techs we request that you sleep in pajamas or a t-shirt and shorts.

Q: HOW LONG IS THE SLEEP STUDY? WHAT IF I WAKE UP EARLY? CAN I SLEEP IN?

A: The wake-up time is 5 am, and unfortunately, we cannot allow patients to sleep in. Insurance requires a minimum of 6 hours of recording, and as long as we have reached that, you are free to leave before 5 am (some restrictions may apply depending on if the patient took a sleeping medication). Many people ask why they must get up so early. Our Sleep Technicians need to ensure all patients are up and checked out so they can upload all the data to be read and get home so they too can get some sleep.

Q: HOW HARD IS THE PASTE TO GET OUT OF MY HAIR?

A: The paste is water soluble! You can use a hairbrush, but some paste will remain. The best thing to do is wash your hair with very warm water. We recommend using conditioner first to loosen up the paste and then washing your hair. Rubbing alcohol is also an effective, quick way to remove paste but can be rough on the scalp. Also, Micellar water can be effective and less harsh.

Q: CAN THEY TELL ME THE RESULTS OF MY SLEEP STUDY IN THE MORNING?

A: Unfortunately, no. The sleep technologist is collecting data that will be interpreted by your sleep medicine physician. You will receive your results at your follow-up visit.

Whether you were a little nervous about your upcoming sleep study, or just curious about the process, we hope this cleared up a few questions and put your mind at ease! Remember, your Comprehensive Sleep Care Center sleep technologist is not only there to gather information, but they are there to make the process as comfortable as possible! We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Pediatric Sleep Disorders

PEDIATRIC SLEEP DISORDERS

Up to 30% of children today have some type of sleep disorder. Pediatric sleep disorders can lead to tired and cranky children, but also to a number of behavioral problems at home, in school, and in their social lives as well.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of sleep disorders in children might include:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty focusing/concentrating
  • Hyperactivity
  • Snoring /gasping, pauses in breathing
  • Restless sleep
  • Nightmares / night terrors
  • Sleepwalking
  • Snorting, coughing or choking
  • Mouth breathing
  • Bed wetting (over the age of 5)
  • Unexplained decrease in daytime performance
  • Obesity
  • Grinding teeth during sleep
  • Trouble falling asleep due to leg discomfort

Infants and young children with obstructive sleep apnea don’t always snore. They might just have disturbed sleep.

Children who have sleep disorders may often exhibit symptoms (inattentiveness, over-activity, restlessness) similar to ADHD. Studies have suggested that as many as 25 percent of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may actually have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and that much of their learning difficulty and behavior problems can be the consequence of chronic fragmented sleep. Bed-wetting, sleep-walking, retarded growth, other hormonal and metabolic problems, even failure to thrive can be related to a sleep disorder. Several recent studies show a strong association between pediatric sleep disorders and childhood obesity. Children exhibiting these symptoms or other behavioral problems should be carefully assessed by a pediatric sleep medicine specialist to assess their sleep problems.

American Acedemy of Pediatrics Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guideline recommends that children who frequently snore should be tested for obstructive sleep apnea.  The clinical practice guideline “Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnea” was published in the September 2012 issue of Pediatrics. The guideline recommends in-lab polysomnography for children with daytime learning problems, labored breathing during sleep and disturbed sleep with frequent gasps, snorts or pauses. The guidelines also call for children and adolescents to be screened for snoring as part of routine physician visits. The AAP recommends adenotonsillectomy as the first-line treatment for children with sleep apnea. Pediatricians may also recommend weight loss in obese patients or CPAP if surgery is ineffective or not conducted. 

Causes 

There are differences between pediatric obstructive sleep apnea and adult sleep apnea. While adults usually have daytime sleepiness, children are more likely to have behavioral problems. The underlying cause in adults is often obesity, while in children the most common underlying condition is enlargement of the adenoids and tonsils. However, obesity also plays a role in children. Other underlying factors can be craniofacial anomalies and neuromuscular disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent complications that can affect children’s growth, cognitive development and behavior.

DURING THE DAY, CHILDREN WITH SLEEP DISORDERS MIGHT:

  • Perform poorly in school
  • Have difficulty paying attention
  • Have learning problems
  • Have behavioral problems
  • Have poor weight gain
  • Be hyperactive

 MAKING A DIAGNOSIS

As in adults, a polysomnography (sleep study) is the only tool for a definitive diagnosis and assessment of the severity of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. It needs to be conducted during an overnight stay in a sleep lab, with the test conducted by technologists experienced in working with children and the data interpreted by a sleep medicine physician with pediatric experience. In addition, since children’s sleep apnea is frequently most pronounced during REM sleep late in the sleep cycle, home sleep studies and daytime nap studies are not useful and can be misleading.

FINDING A SPECIALIST

Comprehensive Sleep Care Center offers expert diagnosis, treatment, and care for pediatric sleep disorders for children from the age of 2 months and up with the goal of providing a better night’s sleep and a better day ahead for the entire family.

If you suspect your child might have a sleep disorder, contact our physicians at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center. We have a team of pediatric sleep medicine specialists on staff and ready to help.