Sleep Disorders

At Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network, we understand how disruptive sleep disorders can be for children and families. We provide advanced diagnosis and comprehensive support for sleep disorders to promote healthy sleep and improve your child’s quality of life.

Why Choose Mary Bridge for Sleep Disorder Treatment?

Parents and referring physicians choose us because of our:

  • Specialized expertise: We are one of the few sleep centers statewide experienced in conducting sleep studies in children. We have one of the only pediatric neurologists in the country who is also a sleep specialist to interpret our studies.
  • Advanced technology: Our clinic uses technology not widely available elsewhere, helping ensure an accurate diagnosis during your child’s sleep study.
  • Individualized care and support: We provide personalized diagnosis and treatment tailored to your child’s needs. Our team also includes nurses and social workers to help guide you through the medical process.

Types of Sleep Disorders We Treat

The Mary Bridge Sleep Disorders Clinic includes board-certified physicians who specialize in treating sleep disorders in children. Sleep disorders we treat include:

  • Sleep apnea, a condition where breathing during sleep is irregular. A child may experience apnea (short pauses in breathing) and hypopnea (shallow, ineffective breathing).
  • Restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, which can cause frequent muscle spasms (jerks) leading to sleep disruption or difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleep terrors and other parasomnias or unusual sleep behaviors, such as sleepwalking and sleep terrors
  • Narcolepsy or excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Circadian rhythm disorders where the body’s natural clock is out of sync with normal day-night cycles
  • Sleep disorders that are associated with other neurological disorders, such as  autism

Diagnosing Sleep Disorders in Children

Our experienced specialists use advanced technology to diagnose and understand sleep disorders in children. Specialists usually perform these tests during a sleep study, which may require an overnight stay in the hospital or sleep center. Families are an integral part of treatment, so we make it easy for you to stay with your child during the sleep study.

Sometimes it is necessary to do a daytime study following the overnight study. We call this a nap study or a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).

Sleep studies are painless, allowing doctors to evaluate your child’s sleeping patterns. Before the sleep study, doctors may attach small flat discs called electrodes to your child’s head to monitor brain activity. During your child’s study, the sleep specialist will monitor:

  • Breathing patterns
  • Oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Eye and leg movements

We also use non-invasive actigraphy to monitor rest and activity cycles. An Actiwatch is a compact actigraphy device that looks like a wrist watch. Sleep specialists use the Actiwatch to evaluate the amount of your child’s sleep. Usually, a child must wear this device for 10 days.

Learn more about our  Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic.

Sleep Disorder Treatment at Mary Bridge

Treatment depends on the type of sleep disorder your child has. Some of the most common treatments for sleep disorders include:

  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure): Children with sleep apnea may need a CPAP device to keep their airways open while sleeping.
  • Tonsil and adenoid removal: Your child’s doctor may recommend surgery by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to remove the tonsils and adenoids if they cause sleep apnea.
  • Medication: Various medications are available for treating different sleep disorders. Doctors may prescribe drugs such as Klonopin® (clonazepam) for parasomnias and Provigil® (modafinil) for narcolepsy.
  • Improving sleep habits: In many cases, sleep disorders result from poor sleep habits. Our experts work with you to identify specific strategies for improving sleep hygiene.

Comprehensive Sleep Disorder Support

Our numerous support services help your family through the diagnosis and treatment process, including:

  • Child life specialists: When needed, our child life specialists can explain the sleep study in child-friendly language to address any anxiety your child may have.
  • Neurological evaluation: Sleep disorders can occur as a result of other neurological conditions. It’s important that your child receives evaluation from a pediatric neurologist.
  • Care coordination: Our personal health partner (PHP) teams include a nurse and a social worker to coordinate treatment and make sure your child has everything he or she needs.
  • Mental health support: Our  pediatric psychology and psychiatry department can help in cases of behavioral sleep disorders.

Contact Us

Call us at 253-792-6630 to make an appointment with one of our specialists.