The first step in helping your child overcome sleep problems is to determine the cause. Sleep disorders can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of your child. A sleep disorder can cause problems for your child’s daytime alertness, mood, school performance and safety. Poor sleep may result in:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Behavioral problems
- Learning difficulties
- Poor academic or sports performance
- Motor vehicle accidents in teens
Evaluating and diagnosing sleep disorders
A sleep study (polysomnogram) is the most comprehensive tool to diagnose an array of sleep disorders. Our experienced sleep technologists appreciate the additional time and care required to make children feel at ease during testing. Our top priority is to ensure your child’s comfort and safety.
Emerson’s Pediatric Intervention Team
The Pediatric Intervention Team (PIT), an integral part of pediatric care at Emerson Hospital, provides for the emotional well being of children and families in the hospital. The PIT provides pre-procedural preparation and support to parents and children undergoing testing and procedures. If you would like to schedule a pre-procedural appointment for your child prior to coming for a sleep study, please call 978-287-3422.
Common childhood sleep disorders
Obstructive Sleep Apnea — Child snores very loudly, is a restless sleeper, and has breathing pauses during sleep. Occurs in up to 5 percent of children.
Parasomnias — Child looks awake, but is really sleeping. Some common examples are sleepwalking, which occurs in up to 17 percent of children; confusion arousal, which occurs in up to 17 percent of children; sleep terrors, which occurs in up to 6.5 percent of children.
Insomnia — Child has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and wakes unrefreshed. Occurs in up to 30 percent of children.
Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder — Child consistently falls asleep very late and wakes up late. Parents have trouble getting the child to fall asleep at a normal bedtime. The child tends to be difficult to wake up in the morning, often causing the child to be late for school. Occurs in up to 16 percent of teens.
Restless Legs Syndrome — Child has unpleasant sensations in their legs and needs to move their legs, most commonly in the evening. Other symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, “growing pains,” and symptoms similar to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Occurs in at least 2 percent of children.
Narcolepsy — Child has excessive daytime sleepiness, disturbed nighttime sleep, feeling of paralysis when falling asleep or waking, sudden loss of muscle tone, “sleep attacks,” and/or hallucinations. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 15 to 25, but it is possible to start experiencing symptoms at a much younger age.
Primary Snoring — Snoring occurs in the upper throat during sleep as the flow of air becomes restricted, causing tissue in the back of the throat to vibrate. It is thought that some children may grow out of snoring without intervention, but new evidence suggests that snoring can impact cognition, behavior, and academic performance. Occurs in up to 10 percent of children.
► My Sleep Study Visit: A Guide for Children and Parents [Opens as a PDF]
To schedule a sleep study or for questions, please call the Emerson Hospital Sleep Center at 617-796-7766.