Sleep Disorders in Children
Millions of children suffer from sleep disorders. Inadequate, disrupted, poor quality, non-restful, and elusive sleep is one of the most common issues parents discuss with their child’s pediatrician.
Insufficient or disturbed sleep is a major contributor to mood, behavior, academic, and health problems in children, although parents often don’t recognize this relationship.
At the Sleep Institute of Florida, on the campus of West Boca Medical Center in Boca Raton, our mission is to provide comprehensive high quality care for sleep disorders in children. Our highly trained pediatric sleep specialist will sit down with you and your child to discuss sleeping issues and will work with you on a treatment plan. Our goal is to help your whole family get better sleep.
Some of the most common sleep disorders we diagnose and treat in children include:
Snoring is not exclusive to adults – children snore, too! If your child snores, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated, such as sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleeping disorder caused by a narrowing or blockage of the upper airway that interrupts your child’s breathing during sleep. These pauses may be significant enough to wake your child. In children, sleep apnea is usually a result of enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Other factors may include obesity, craniofacial anomalies, and neuromuscular disorders.
Symptoms of OSA may include difficulty awakening in the morning, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness (although this is more prevalent in adults), hyperactivity, and behavior and academic problems.
Insomnia refers to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, including the problem of waking too early in the morning. Symptoms of insomnia are prevalent in adolescents and are associated with significant daytime consequences. If a child does not get enough sleep, it can cause daytime sleepiness, inattention, mood disturbances, memory and concentration issues, and impaired performance in school.
Unlike nightmares, night terrors are more traumatic dreams where a child can wake up screaming, crying, shaking, and sweating. Sleep walking can last 5 to 20 minutes. This usually happens early in sleep and can be caused by a child not getting enough sleep.
Sleep Study for Children
At the Sleep Institute of Florida, we offer state-of-the-art diagnostic sleep studies and tests, including PSG, EEG, and MSLT:
PSG stands for polysomnography. The PSG test is an all-night sleep study. During the study, various physical functions are monitored and the results are recorded.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your child’s brain. Special sensors (electrodes) are attached to your child’s head and hooked up by wires to a computer. The computer records the electrical activity of your child’s brain on the screen or on paper as wavy lines.
The multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) is a nap study. It is used to see how quickly your child falls asleep in quiet situations during the day. The MSLT is the standard way to measure your child’s level of daytime sleepiness.
If your child was diagnosed with obstructive or central sleep apnea, the doctor may recommend a therapy called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or bi-level PAP. CPAP offers one single flow of air to be inhaled and exhaled; bi-level PAP delivers two separate pressures, one for inhalation and one for exhalation.
A titration study is a type of in-lab sleep study used to determine the optimal pressure setting for the CPAP or bi-level PAP equipment required to resolve your child’s apnea episodes. We also routinely test carbon dioxide levels.
During a titration study, your child will sleep all wired up, just like a normal sleep study, but he/she will also wear a nasal mask, which is connected to a CPAP machine. Since the pressurized air can be irritating to the nose, some sleep labs may connect the CPAP device to a heated humidifier during the titration procedure. This adds moisture to the air after it leaves the CPAP and before it enters the child's nose, easing the drying effect of the pressurized air.
We often test all-night esophageal pH to distinguish between central apneas caused by an immature central nervous system and those caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
A sleep test is neither painful nor dangerous. It monitors your child’s physiology during sleep and allows our sleep specialist to assess the parameters involved such as EEG (brain waves), ECG (heart rate), EMG (muscle activity), blood oxygen saturation levels, CO2 levels, snoring, and respiratory effort.
The evening of your child's sleep study, you and your child will work with one of our highly trained technicians. Our South Florida facility is equipped with a television and a comfortable bed. During your child's sleep study, our technician will be in another room monitoring the entire time. Our mission is to have the entire sleep study be as comfortable as possible for you and your child.
Management of Sleep Disorders
Lifestyle Changes - If your sleep specialist thinks that obesity may be contributing to your child's OSA, he or she may recommend weight loss by means of a combined diet, exercise, and behavioral program.
For other sleeping disorders, treatment might involve establishing a steady sleep schedule for your child. Some children need behavior modification for the child and for the parent.
Surgery - If enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the cause of your child’s OSA, our sleep specialist may recommend having them removed. This surgical procedure, called adenotonsillectomy, is performed by a pediatric otolaryngologist (ENT).
CPAP - Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a small mask worn over the nose during sleep to manage obstructive sleep apnea. The mask provides air pressure that keeps the throat from closing during sleep. This is very helpful for children when surgical treatment is not possible or desirable, or when surgery does not cure the OSA.
If your pediatrician or family doctor recommends that your child see a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders in children, trust the experts at KIDZ Medical Services. Call to make an appointment with our pediatric sleep medicine doctor or request an appointment online.