Pediatric Sleep Study

This information is useful for children
A boy rests in bed.
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital has two child-friendly pediatric sleep labs (one in New Haven, one at Bridgeport Hospital).
  • Our physicians are board-certified in pediatrics, pediatrics and pediatric sleep medicine.
  • We are highly skilled at making children of all ages comfortable during an overnight study.

A sleepless child means your house also has at least one sleepless parent—and maybe suffering siblings as well. If your child struggles with sleep, snores, exhibits symptoms of excessive daytime drowsiness—or, conversely, is hyperactive during the day—he or she might benefit from an overnight sleep study.

A night spent in a lab, hooked up to wires, might not sound like much fun (especially for those already short on sleep), but rest assured, our Yale Medicine pediatric sleep specialists are highly experienced at putting even the most over-tired (and grumpy) children at ease.

We have two state-of-the art, pediatric-only sleep labs, one located at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and the other at Bridgeport Hospital. Parents can sleep in a bed alongside their child if they like, too.

“We have been providing pediatric-specific, family-centered care for children who need their sleep assessed and treated for 20 years,” says Yale Medicine’s Craig A. Canapari, MD, director of the Pediatric Sleep Medicine Program. “Our laboratory is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and our technicians have extensive experience working with children to make their time with us as pleasant and unintimidating as possible.

We offer overnight sleep studies, or polysomnograms, to children of all ages—infants through teenagers. Through the various tests performed during the night, we check for a number of conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. In children, obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is often caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

But before a sleep test is done, most children start with a visit to a pediatric sleep specialist. Dr. Canapari is board-certified in pediatric sleep medicine and pediatric pulmonology.

“Sleep problems are very common in childhood. Up to 40 percent of parents come to their child’s pediatrician with concerns about their child’s sleep,” Dr. Canapari says. “We treat a variety of respiratory and non-respiratory sleep disorders, from insomnia to restless leg syndrome to obstructive sleep apnea to complications from neuromuscular disease.”

Issues that may prompt a visit to a pediatric sleep specialist include: 

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Waking up during the night
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Hyperactivity

 Additional reasons for a sleep study include: 

  • Monitoring of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which improves airflow during sleep
  • Determination of respiratory needs for oxygen and ventilator support
  • Infants with apparent life-threatening events (when parents are worried about the breathing of their baby)
  • Pre- and post-operative evaluation for sleep problems related to scoliosis, spina bifida, cleft palate and other neurosurgical and craniofacial disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Respiratory complications of neuromuscular disease
  • Sleep disturbance including parasomnias (sleep walking, night terrors, nightmares, bedwetting)

In some cases, home sleep testing equipment and daytime monitoring devices might be an option. These can be useful to evaluate whether a child has narcolepsy or certain other conditions.

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