Pediatric Sleep Services
If your child or teenager has trouble sleeping, turn to UNC Children’s for sleep services that can improve your loved one’s mood, behavior, thinking abilities, and overall health.
Pediatric Sleep Conditions We Treat
UNC Children’s provide expert care for conditions such as:
- Bedwetting – Accidentally urinating during sleep
- Insomnia – Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Narcolepsy – Suddenly falling asleep during the day • Night terrors – Intense fear and crying while asleep
- Obstructive sleep apnea – Breathing that starts and stops
- Restless legs syndrome – Pain and an urge to move the legs at night
- Sleepwalking – Walking or performing other behaviors while sleeping
- Snoring – Breathing with hoarse, sometimes grunting sounds during sleep
Diagnosing Sleep-Related Disorders
Before your child’s first appointment at UNC Medical Center, a sleep specialist may ask you to record your child’s sleep-wake habits for two weeks. The information will help his or her physician notice behavior patterns and make an accurate diagnosis.
Polysomnogram (Sleep Study)
To fully assess your child’s symptoms, a doctor may recommend your child spend a night in our Sleep Disorders Laboratory for a polysomnogram, or sleep study. A technician specially trained in working with children will place pain-free sensors on your child’s head, chest and legs. These sensors record vital signs, muscle activity, and brain waves as your child sleeps.
You’ll also find a comfortable place to sleep at the lab the night of the study.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
The day after a polysomnogram, your child may participate in a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). S/he will receive several opportunities to nap during the day, and a medical professional will measure how quickly your child falls asleep each time.
Treating Children’s Sleep Problems
After evaluating your child’s symptoms and medical history, a physician may recommend one or more of these measures to improve your child’s sleep:
- Changes to daytime or nighttime routines – Make your child feel more relaxed, secure and ready for sleep at bedtime.
- Environmental modifications – Help your child stay asleep longer.
- Mental health services – Ease insomnia or night terrors.
- Positive airway pressure (PAP) machines – Keep airways open during sleep to encourage steady breathing.
Depending on the findings, your doctor may also refer your child to see a specialist in airway disorders, pulmonary (lung) care, neurology, or another pediatric specialty area for additional care of disorders affecting sleep.