Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center

If your child suffers from a sleep disorder, he or she may be admitted to NHRMC Betty H. Cameron Women's & Children's Hospital for a one-night sleep study. Specially trained, experienced and board-certified pediatric sleep specialists conduct sleep studies on children as young as infants. We help diagnose and treat children with a variety of sleep disorders including:

Peds Sleep Page
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Congenital hypoventilation syndrome
  • Night terrors
  • Bed-wetting
  • Sleepwalking
  • Narcolepsy
  • Nocturnal seizures 

How a Sleep Study Works

A sleep study is conducted using electrodes placed on your child using either sticky tape or paste. A sleep technician will apply these small round metal discs to your child’s scalp, on both sides of your child's head, and under your child's chin. These electrodes report information that can help us evaluate the quality of your child’s sleep, which helps in diagnosing the cause of their trouble sleeping. The session is also videotaped to provide additional insight.

The study will monitor and record the following:

  • Brain waves - By measuring your child's brain waves it is possible to determine what stage of sleep your child is in. Stages of sleep include light sleep, deep sleep, and the type of sleep that you dream in, also known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
  • Eye movements - By measuring your child's eye movements it is possible to determine if your child's eyes are moving quickly or slowly. Eye movements are also used to determine what stage of sleep your child is in.
  • Muscle Tone - By measuring your child's muscle tone it is possible to determine how relaxed your child's muscles are.
  • Heart Rate - Your child's heart rate will be monitored during the entire sleep study using an EKG (electrocardiogram) monitor. The EKG leads are big stickers with a snap on the front side. The EKG cables are snapped onto the EKG cables.
  • Breathing Movements - Two stretchy elastic bands/belts are placed around your child's chest and abdomen. These stretchy belts look very similar to wide elastic that can be found in a fabric/craft store. These stretchy belts measure your child's breathing movements. When your child is breathing normally their chest and abdomen move in and out together. 
  • Airflow - A sensor is placed under your child's nose that measures airflow. This sensor is called a capnograph. The sensor is very similar to a nasal cannula that people wear when they need oxygen. During the sleep study we are not giving your child extra oxygen or air to breathe. Instead we are measuring what your child is breathing out (their carbon dioxide levels). If the child is small or is an infant, we may use a transcutaneous monitor to measure the carbon dioxide levels. This monitor will stick directly to your child’s skin. This is not painful at all.
  • Oxygen Levels -A sleep technician will place an oxygen sensor on your child's toe or finger that measures blood oxygen levels. This sensor is very similar to wearing a Band-Aid. This sensor has a tiny red light. 
  • Arm and Leg Movements - It is also important to monitor your child's arm and leg movements. We can measure your child's arm and leg movements using an EMG (electromyography) monitor. These EMG leads are very similar to the EKG leads. The EMG leads are big stickers with a snap on the front side. The EMG cables are snapped onto the EMG cables.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Studies

Will the sensor devices or tests hurt?

No. This is a painless and non-invasive (no needles) testing procedure.

Can I stay with my child?

One parent/legal guardian must stay for the entire night during the sleep study. Each sleep suite is set up with one bed or crib for your child and one bed for you to sleep in. Each sleep suite has a television and XBox gaming system. Only one adult may stay overnight.

What will happen during our stay?

  • When you arrive at the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital main entrance you will report to the reception area. They will call the Pediatric Floor to alert the staff that you have arrived, and you will be instructed to proceed to the 2nd floor.
  • You will be greeted there by the Health Unit Clerk who will show you to your room, and gather medical information about your child. You will be introduced to the sleep technician, who will show you the equipment and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions.
  • Please inform the sleep technician of any specific difficulties or changes in your child's sleep and your child's bedtime routine.
  • The technical equipment and the sleep technician will be in a central monitoring room throughout the night during your child's sleep study. In the central monitoring room, the sleep technician monitors your child's sleep and general condition. Your child will be monitored by a sleep technician during your stay with us. It is easy to call your sleep technician from your sleep suite, through an intercom system, if you need to or if you have any questions.

What will happen 24-48 hours prior to the sleep study?

You will be contacted by the Sleep Center 24-48 hours before your child's scheduled appointment.

  • Please let us know if there are any changes in your child's health, your child is ill, or your child has had any recent medical treatments, which may require rescheduling your child's sleep study.
  • After regular business hours, please contact our nighttime lab at 910.667.3770.

Note: We request 24-hour notice for cancellation of the sleep study.

How should we prepare for the day of the study?

  • Do not give your child any food or drinks that have caffeine (soda, chocolate, tea, coffee).
  • Do not apply any hair spray, gels, or oil to your child's hair. Your child's hair will need to be clean and dry.
  • Do not apply lotions or creams to your child's skin.
  • Pack an overnight bag for yourself and your child.
  • Arrive at the Sleep Center at 7 p.m.
  • Parents/caregivers should wear comfortable clothing.

What should we pack in our overnight bag?

  • Two-piece pajama set (a top and bottom without zippers) or shorts and a t-shirt
  • Any special blanket, stuffed animal, pillow, or other special item that your child usually sleeps with, or that will help your child feel "at home" at the sleep lab
  • A book, if you usually read to your child at bedtime
  • Any special food or drink
  • Bottle or sippy cup, if your child uses one
  • Diapers, training pants, pull-ups, and wipes if your child is not fully potty-trained or has a history of bed-wetting
  • Extra set of pajamas, in case of accident
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and other personal hygiene items (towels are provided)
  • Any medications your child usually takes at nighttime or early in the morning
  • Clothing for the next day
  • Favorite activity or book to read during the set-up process

What time should we arrive and where should we go?

You and your child should arrive at the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center at 7 p.m. 

Please park in the parking lot in front of the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital, enter the main entrance and report to the receptionist desk. Parking is free.

Do we need to bring any medications? Do we need to bring meals or snacks?

Yes. You will need to bring all medications that you and your child normally take at night and/or in the morning. Your child should take their medication according to their normal schedule unless otherwise indicated by the doctor.

Meals and Snacks

Snacks are not provided by the Sleep Center. Make sure to eat dinner before arriving for your sleep study. Please do not plan on eating dinner at the sleep lab because our technicians will need all of the available time to adequately prepare your child for his/her study. Plan on bringing any snacks your child may need before bedtime and/or breakfast in the morning–remembering that no caffeine products such as coffee, tea, cola drinks, or chocolate are allowed. There is a small refrigerator in the rooms.

What do we do before my child falls asleep or during any free time?

Please plan on spending the majority of your time with your child in his or her room. Bring reading materials, homework, or other quiet activities to occupy your child during set-up.

What time can we go home the next morning? How do we receive the results?

The sleep study is completed between 6 and 6:30 a.m. You and your child will be ready to leave by 6:45 a.m.

Results of the Study

The physician will discuss with you the results of your sleep study during a follow-up office visit.