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Sleep/Wake Disorders Center

Pediatric Sleep Studies

The St. Mary Sleep/Wake Disorders Center offers sleep studies for children as young as 12 months who are having difficulty falling or staying asleep. Pediatric sleep disorders are becoming more widely recognized as physicians, teachers, and parents learn more about the warning signs in young people. Children who are difficult to awaken in the morning or who have trouble staying awake during the day may benefit from an evaluation by a St. Mary sleep specialist. Pediatric sleep disorders can affect school performance and test scores and also may cause an inability to pay attention during class.

Parents are required to stay with children under age 16 during the overnight studies. The Sleep/Wake Disorders team carefully diagnoses and cares for children with any type of sleep disorder, and provides support and education to parents. Children with sleep disorders may show, such as excitability, irritability, difficulty staying focused on tasks or school activities, and poor attention span. Children with upper airway restriction may not snore like adults; instead, they may have raspy breathing or sound congested while sleeping. In some cases, a child's symptoms of sleep disorder mirror symptoms often associated with attention deficit disorder/attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). Proper diagnosis is a necessary first step to assure that symptoms are treated properly.

The St. Mary Sleep/Wake Disorders Center carefully diagnoses and cares for children with any type of sleep disorder, including:

  • Behavioral problems - Bedtime struggles and night waking.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity - ADHD.
  • Bruxism - The grinding of teeth during sleep.
  • Snoring.
  • Parasomnias - Sleep walking, sleep terrors.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders - Delayed sleep phase syndrome.
  • Central apnea - Cessation of airflow at the mouth or nose because of a decrease in or absence of respiratory effort, most commonly seen in infants or patients with neurological disorders.
  • Central alveolar hypoventilation - Inadequate respiratory drive during sleep to maintain normal gas exchange (oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood), which may occur in episodic form in many patients, but in a continuous, more severe form in a small subset of patients.
  • Obstructive apnea syndrome - A clinical condition that may occur at any age, usually associated with snoring (except in infancy) and manifested by increased work of breathing and repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction to airflow through the mouth and nose during sleep.
  • Chronic respiratory failure - Select infants and children may require nightly (or more frequent) mechanical ventilary support due to a disease involving the central nervous system, respiratory muscles, chest wall and/or lungs. The most important and reliable time to assess the adequacy of the patient's ventilary assistance is during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy - Excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations, usually occurring in adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Rhythmic movement disorders - Body rocking, head banging, head rolling, and periodic limb movement disorder.