If you’d like your child to be evaluated for a sleep disorder, ask your child’s primary care physician before calling for an appointment with a Crozer-Keystone Sleep Specialist. If your child has already been evaluated for a sleep disorder and has a valid prescription, you can make an appointment by calling 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).
Common Pediatric Sleep Conditions
Children can experience all of the same sleep problems as adults, but their symptoms may be different. Symptoms could be a sign of a sleep disorder and are valid reasons to see a pediatric sleep specialist: Snoring, Inability to fall or stay asleep, Falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day or being unusually sleepy, Hyperactivity, and Sleepwalking and night terrors.
The following are the top conditions affecting children:
Children with ADHD often have trouble getting to sleep at night—they might resist going to be bed and feel tired upon waking. Prescribed medication for ADHD also can affect sleep patterns.
Behavioral Sleep Disorders
This category of sleep problems can include bedtime resistance as related to separation anxiety, fears about going to bed and/or falling asleep, adolescent sleep problems and sleep schedule problems, all of which can be treated with counseling or other methods.
Circadian Clock Changes
All adolescents’ sleep patterns change at around age 13. They might get sleepy later in the evening and wake up later in the morning and find that waking up for school is difficult. While most adolescents catch up on their sleep during weekends, a small segment of the population find that they can only sleep during certain times of the day, leading to chronic sleep deprivation.
Across the board, insomnia is the most common sleep disturbance, and 1 out of 3 people have insomnia at some point in their lives. If insomnia goes untreated, children who develop this condition early in life find the problem follows them into adulthood.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects about one in 2,000 people, and the symptoms typically emerge during the teen years. People with narcolepsy have sudden “sleep attacks” and excessive daytime sleepiness. Children with narcolepsy often have difficulty waking and may be confused or aggressive in the morning and have difficulty concentrating in school.
It is normal for babies to wake up at night, but as children get older, waking frequently can interfere with needed rest and disrupt the household. This is a common problem but without treatment it can become a cyclical one.
Often associated with conditions such as sickle cell anemia, sleep apnea and fibromyalgia, non-restorative sleep is a condition whereby sufferers wake feeling tired and irritable.
This group of sleep problems includes episodic behaviors more common in children than adults, such as sleepwalking, bedwetting and night terrors. These events are usually infrequent but if they begin to occur more regularly then they might require medical attention. Typically, these behaviors occur when the child is both asleep and awake and they tend to affect younger children.
Thought to occur in between one and three percent of children, sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep, and is typically only recognized by an observer. Symptoms include snoring, difficulty breathing, mouth breathing and excessive sweating. Other signs might be large adenoids, developmental delays, weight gain, and, in older children, learning difficulties and ADHD. However, in some cases, what parents perceive as sleep apnea might actually be asthma.
Improving Sleep Hygiene: Self-Care
Before you see a doctor, there are many techniques for self-treatment that you can try at home to enhance the quality and duration of your child’s sleep.
Don’t give your child food or drinks with caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
Establish a regular nightly bedtime and waking time. On weekends, these times should not differ from weekdays by more than one hour or so. Before bed, create a relaxing ritual that includes bathing or reading.
Create a relaxing, pleasant sleep environment with a comfortable bed. Keep the room at an adequate temperature and make sure it’s sufficiently dark and as quiet as possible.
After dinner, playtime should be relaxing and not too active. Reduce exposure to television, radio and other noises at the child’s bedtime. Avoid getting into bed with a child to help get them to sleep.
Professional Care: Diagnosis and Treatment
If self-care does not work and your child is still struggling with sleep problems, it may be time to contact one of the experts at the Crozer-Keystone Pediatric Sleep Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. At an initial appointment your child will be seen quickly and evaluated with a detailed history and physical examination.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The Pediatric Sleep Center provides the following tests and treatments:
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT): This diagnostic tool, consisting of four or five 20-minute naps scheduled two hours apart, measures the time from when a patient first lies down to when they fall asleep and monitors biological activity during sleep. MSLT can be used to test for narcolepsy and to distinguish between physical fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Polysomnography: Also known as a sleep study, the polysomnogram is a noninvasive procedure that involves spending a night or two in a sleep center. During the test, the sleep technologist records functions such as eye movement, muscle tone, brain wave activity, heart rhythm and breathing. The data is analyzed and in most cases, the sleep problem can be diagnosed.
Sleep Log: Writing in a diary to record specific sleeping and waking habits over a period of time can be an easy and efficient way to help your physician diagnose a sleep problem or monitor whether a treatment is working. Some categories to keep track of include sleep and wake times, nap times and general mood and functioning.
Additional Pulmonary Testing: Spirometry, lung function testing, broncoscopy and exercise testing are also available to investigate cough, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
Counseling: Many behavioral sleep problems can be addressed through counseling. Our team will give you strategies for changing your child’s negative habits and sleep patterns.
Medication: Most of the medications prescribed for adult sleep problems are not necessarily recommended for children. In certain cases, medication might be prescribed if the problem does not respond to other treatments.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): This respiratory ventilator is very effective in helping obese children with sleep apnea by increasing air pressure in the throat so that the airways don’t collapse during inhalation. The device consists of a mask or prongs that fit inside the nose, and users wear it during sleep for a more restful night.
Surgery: In many cases obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia caused by abnormal snoring or severe nasal obstructions can be cured by surgery, if other treatments don’t work. Surgery can stabilize the upper airway by modifying its size and shape, thus opening it up for easier breathing during sleep.
Our program offers the comprehensive care you would want and expect for your child.
- Complete medical history
- Testing to rule out lung problems, such as spirometry, lung function testing, broncoscopy, and exercise testing
- Sleep studies in a comfortable, home-like environment
- Customized treatment plan based on each individual’s need, including
- Behavior modification
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
- Follow-up care
With convenient locations throughout Delaware County, chances are there is a Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center close to your home.
To contact any of our sleep centers, call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).
All of our sleep centers are stocked with complimentary toiletries, clean linens and private bathrooms for sleep study visitors.
Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Brinton Lake (a division of Taylor Hospital)
145 South Brinton Lake Road, Suite 100
Glen Mills, PA 19342
Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Delaware County Memorial Hospital
2100 Keystone Avenue, Suite 703
Drexel Hill, PA 19026
Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Taylor Hospital
175 E. Chester Pike, 3rd Floor
Ridley Park, PA 19078
Crozer-Keystone Pediatric Sleep Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center
Crozer-Chester Medical Center
One Medical Center Boulevard, 2nd floor
Upland, PA 19013