Evaluation and treatment for pediatric sleep disorders begins in our outpatient pediatric sleep medicine clinics.
Outpatient Pediatric Sleep Medicine Clinic
Parents/caretakers of children who need a sleep evaluation may be required to complete a sleep questionnaire and a two-week sleep diary (PDF). This information will help the sleep medicine physician better understand your child’s sleep problems prior to the sleep clinic visit.
During a clinic visit, a board-certified pediatric sleep medicine specialist will obtain additional necessary information from the parents about the child's sleep problem and will conduct a thorough physical examination of the child. If necessary, additional blood tests may be performed, particularly for overweight and obese children. These tests measure fasting blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. If it's determined that an overnight sleep study (polysonomogram) is required, our team will work with parents/caretakers to schedule a convenient time for the study to take place at one of our sleep laboratories.
Overnight Sleep Studies & Sleep Laboratories
Often, the best way to diagnose a sleep disorder is to observe a child while they're sleeping and to record several measures that can help pinpoint the cause of a sleep problem. University of Chicago pediatric sleep medicine experts oversee sleep medicine laboratories and provide expert interpretation of sleep studies.
Learn more about what your child can expect during an overnight sleep study.
Our comfortable, child-friendly sleep labs are equipped with the latest technology and are staffed by certified sleep technologists. Types of sleep studies offered include the following:
Overnight Sleep Study (Polysomnogram):
During a routine overnight sleep study, data are gathered from multiple tests to be analyzed together to determine a proper diagnosis. Electrodes are attached to the surface of the child's skin and connected back to machines to record data for the following tests:
Electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor brain activity and aid in diagnosis of possible seizure disorders
Electroculogram (EOG) to record eye movements and determine when REM sleep occurs
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to monitor electrical activity of the heart
Electromyogram (EMG) to measure muscle tension and to aid in the diagnosis of limb movement disorders
Additional body sensors will be placed to assess breathing and respiratory functions. We also perform pulse oximetry to measure blood oxygen levels. A video camera will record the study as well. A sleep technologist is always nearby throughout the study.
Multiple Sleep Latency Testing (MSLT):
Multiple sleep latency testing is a special type of sleep study that is performed during the day to examine reasons for excessive daytime sleepiness. The test also is used to determine if current treatments for sleep breathing disorders are working. Most of the same measures recorded for an overnight sleep study are taken during an MSLT. During the test, the child naps for a period of time and is awoken at periodic intervals. MSLT for children is best conducted in a sleep lab experienced in conducting pediatric sleep studies.
Additional Sleep Tests for Children with Complex Needs:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration studies for children with sleep apnea
Ventilator titration studies for children who rely on ventilators to breathe
Studies for children who have tracheostomies, such as for severe sleep apnea or following surgery
Oxygen titration studies for patients with severe lung disease
Specialized tests to monitor seizure disorders (epilepsy)
Studies to evaluate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) during sleep
Sleep Research Studies
University of Chicago pediatric sleep scientists are conducting a variety of clinical research studies. Current patients and children who are not currently under care by one of our sleep specialists may enroll in these studies. For more information about the type of sleep research under way here, visit our research page.