Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center

What Is the Quality of Your Child’s Sleep?

Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their children. Parents may wonder how to get their child to sleep through the night. Some children may have chronic sleep difficulties, and many children (like most adults) are actually going through their days sleep deprived.

At UConn Health, we recognize that good sleep is essential to good health. UConn’s multidisciplinary Sleep Disorders Center offers state-of-the-art care to evaluate and treat sleep disorders in children.

We offer child-focused care from diagnosis to treatment. Care is designed specifically for children with a variety of complex and chronic sleep disorders. Referring physicians receive a timely interpretation and recommendation, with options, for treatment.

Sleep Disorders in Children

  • Sleepwalking – walking while asleep
  • Night terrors – awakening from sleep in a terrified state
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleep apnea – disruption of breathing during sleep

Common Sleep Disorder Symptoms

The following are a few examples of symptoms of various sleep disorders. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, speak with your pediatrician. You may also consider contacting UConn’s Center for Sleep Disorders for an appointment.

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Inability to get enough sleep; lack of sleep affecting behavior or learning
  • Chronically sleepy or irritable during the day despite apparently getting enough sleep at night
  • Difficulty breathing, breathing heavily, or snoring while asleep; always sleeping with their mouth open
  • Frequent leg or arm jerks (every minute or more) while asleep; funny unpleasant feeling in legs during the evening when at rest
  • Difficulty waking for school in the morning; sleeping several hours later on weekends
  • Frequent nightmares; frequent screaming, yelling, thrashing, or walking in sleep

How Is a Sleep Disorder Evaluated?

A sleep history and physical examination conducted by a sleep specialist are the initial steps. This may be followed by obtaining a two to three week log of sleeping and waking function at home, and if necessary by a sleep laboratory evaluation.

What Is a Sleep Laboratory Evaluation?

Depending upon the nature of the suspected problem, it consists of either an overnight study (Nocturnal Polysomnogram) alone, or an overnight study followed the next day by multiple planned naps in the sleep laboratory (Multiple Sleep Latency Test). The nocturnal polysomnogram is a painless test in which a number of sensors are applied to the skin surface to record the brain wave activity, eye movements, breathing function, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, heart rate and muscle activity during sleep.

The information is processed by a computer, scored by a technician, and then reviewed by a sleep specialist. The test helps determine the nature of the sleep disturbance and assists with treatment planning.

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