During the Sleep Study
Sleep Specialists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital are Experts in Overnight Sleep Studies
Our board-certified sleep specialists at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital provide carefully monitored overnight sleep studies for children and teenagers. The highly skilled doctors use the latest diagnostics and treatments available to help resolve common sleep problems in children such as snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia and restless legs syndrome.
We believe that a child’s sleep study will be a better experience for everyone if the parent and child understand the process and plan appropriately.
Overnight Sleep Test
- Step 1: Quick Check-Up
After you arrive for the “sleepover”, we will weigh your child, measure their height, take their blood pressure and look in their throat to assess their tonsils. If your child is staying the next day for a nap study, we will collect a urine sample. Meanwhile, you will complete a questionnaire regarding your child’s health and sleep behaviors. Next, your child will get ready for bed and we will start the set-up.
- Step 2: Set Up
To conduct the child’s sleep study, sticky patches or sensors that look and feel similar to stickers are placed on the child’s legs, chest, head and face. Prior to applying the sensors, different areas on the child’s skin will be cleaned with a lotion. A few other sensors will be placed on the child’s fingertip or toe, around the belly and chest, and under the nose. Discussing this part of the sleep study with the child is important so he or she knows what to expect.
Attached to each sensor or sticker is a wire or string that connects to a small monitoring box placed by the child’s pillow as movements and noises are recorded by videotape. It takes about one hour to put the sensors on the child’s body. Then both parent and child will stay overnight in the room at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital or a nearby hotel. The overnight sleep test helps doctors to better understand the child’s sleep patterns to determine the best sleep disorder treatment.
- Step 3: Time for Bed
We will turn off the lights in your room between 9 – 9:30 p.m. Once the lights are turned off, we will start to monitor your child from outside the room. The stickers and sensors we attached earlier in the night tell us how your child is sleeping. Also, we will watch on video and listen on a microphone to make sure your child is safe.
The parent/guardian must be very quiet during the night so they do not disturb the child’s sleep. Please silence or turn off your cell phone. The sleep technician will likely enter the room at various times during the night to get a closer look at your child or to fix any loose sensors.
- Step 4: Time to Wake Up
When your child wakes up in the morning, we will gently remove the sensors with a liquid sticker remover and you will be able to go home, unless a daytime nap study is also planned. Let us know the night before if you would like to take a shower in the morning so we can plan ahead.
Daytime Nap Study
The mean sleep latency testing (MSLT) is a daytime nap study that measures daytime sleepiness. This test helps in the diagnosis of “too sleepy” problems in children like narcolepsy. The daytime nap study measures the child’s tendency to fall asleep during five short nap opportunities scheduled every two hours. This study is not part of a routine sleep study, but is rather a special extra study for children under evaluation for “too sleepy” problems.
The mean sleep latency testing works as follows:
- The breathing sensors from the overnight sleep test are removed, but sleep sensors remain in place
- The naps begin two hours after waking up from the overnight study
- In between the naps, the parent and child will be out of bed, sitting, and engaged in quiet activities
- During the naps, the parent must remain outside the sleep room
- After the fifth nap, the technician will help remove the sensors, and then the parent and child can get ready to go home
If a child is scheduled for an overnight sleep study and nap study, plan to be with at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital for about 20 hours.