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What to Expect during your Child's Sleep Study

Data Analysis

There are no needles and no pain! All electrodes are placed on your child using tape or a sticky paste.

A sleep study or polysomnogram measures the quality of a person's sleep. This laboratory test is extremely valuable for diagnosing and treating many sleep disorders, including neurological disorders, movement disorders, and breathing disorders at night.

For studying the quality of sleep, small electrodes (small round metal discs) are applied to your child's scalp, on both sides of your child's head, and under your child's chin. This lets us measure your child's brain waves, eye movements, and muscle tone.

Brain Waves

By measuring your child's brain waves it is possible to determine what stage of sleep your child is in. Stages of sleep include light sleep, deep sleep, and the type of sleep that you dream in, also known as REM  (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

Eye Movements

By measuring your child's eye movements (one electrode placed on both sides of your child's head) it is possible to determine if your child's eyes are moving fast or slow. Eye movements are also used to determine what stage of sleep your child is in.

Muscle Tone

By measuring your child's muscle tone (two electrodes placed under your child's chin) it is possible to determine how relaxed your child's muscles are.

Heart Rate

Your child's heart rate will be monitored during the entire sleep study using an EKG (electrocardiogram) monitor. The EKG leads are big stickers with a snap on the front side. The EKG cables are snapped onto the EKG cables.

Breathing Movements

Two stretchy elastic bands/belts are placed around your child's chest and abdomen. These stretchy belts look very similar to wide elastic that can be found in a fabric/craft store. These stretchy belts measure your child's breathing movements. When your child is breathing normally their chest and abdomen move in and out together.

Measuring Airflow

A sensor is placed under your child's nose that measures airflow. The sensor is very similar to a nasal cannula that people wear when they need oxygen. During the sleep study we are not giving your child extra oxygen or air to breathe. Instead we are measuring what your child is breathing out.

Oxygen Levels

An oxygen sensor is placed on your child's toe or finger that measures blood oxygen levels. This sensor is very similar to wearing a Band-Aid. This sensor has a tiny red light.

Legs Movements

It is also important to monitor your child's leg movements. We can measure your child's leg movements using an EMG (electromyography) monitor. These EMG leads are very similar to the EKG leads. The EMG leads are big stickers with a snap on the front side. The EMG cables are snapped onto the EMG cables.

Watching Your Child Sleep

To help us understand your child's sleeping activities better, your child is videotaped while asleep.

Sleep Teaching Day
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Will The Sensor Devices Or Tests Hurt?

No! This is a painless and non-invasive (no needles) testing procedure.

Can I stay with my child?

Yes Minors, under the age of 18 years, MUST be accompanied by an adult THROUGHOUT the study.

A parent/legal guardian must stay for the entire night during the sleep study. Each sleep suite is set up with one bed or crib for your child and one sleeper lounge for you to sleep in. Each sleep suite has a television and DVD player.

Note: Only one adult may stay overnight with your child.

What will happen during our stay?

When you arrive, you will be greeted, and shown to your sleep suite. You will be introduced to your sleep technician.

The sleep technician will gather medical information from you about your child. The sleep technician will show you the equipment and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions.

Please inform the sleep technician of any specific difficulties or changes in your child's sleep and your child's bedtime routine.

The technical equipment and the sleep technician will be in a central control room throughout the night during your child's sleep study. In the central control room, the sleep technician monitors your child's sleep and general condition. Your child will be monitored by a sleep technician during your stay with us. It is easy to call your sleep technician from your sleep suite, through an intercom system, if you need to or if you have any questions.

What will happen 24-48 hours prior to the sleep study?

You will be contacted by the Sleep Center 24-48 hours before your child's scheduled appointment.

Please let us know if there are any changes in your child's health, your child is ill, or your child has had any recent medical treatments, which may require rescheduling your child's sleep study.

After regular business hours, please contact our nighttime lab at (315) 565-4045, extension 107.

What should we plan on the day of the study?

  • Do not give your child any food or drinks that have caffeine (soda, chocolate, tea, coffee).
  • Do not apply any hair spray, gels, or oil to your child's hair. Your child's hair will need to be clean and dry.
  • Do not apply lotions or creams to your child's skin.
  • Pack an overnight bag for yourself and your child.
  • Parents/caregivers should wear comfortable clothing.

What should we pack in our overnight bag?

  • Two-piece pajama set (a top and bottom without zippers) or shorts and a t-shirt
  • Any special blanket, stuffed animal, pillow, or other special item that your child usually sleeps with, or that will help your child feel "at home" at the sleep lab
  • A book, if you usually read to your child at bedtime
  • Any special food or drink
  • Bottle or sippy cup, if your child uses one
  • Diapers, training pants, pull-ups, and wipes if your child is not fully potty-trained or has a history of bed-wetting
  • Extra set of pajamas, in case of accident
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and other personal hygiene items (towels are provided)
  • Any medications your child usually takes at nighttime or early in the morning
  • Clothing for the next day
  • Favorite movie, book, or activity to read during the set-up process

What time should we arrive?

You and your child should arrive at the Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services at your scheduled Sleep Study time.

Where do we go when we arrive?

Parking is available free of charge. Park in the Immediate Care lot and enter through Entrance B. Please ring the bell at the entrance door and a member of our staff will let you in.

Parking is free.

Do we need to bring any medications?

Yes. You will need to bring all medications that you and your child normally take at night and/or in the morning. Your child should take their medication according to their normal schedule unless otherwise indicated by the doctor.

Note: The Sleep Center does not provide any medication.

Do we need to bring meals or snacks?

Yes. Snacks are not provided by the Sleep Center. Make sure to eat dinner before arriving for your sleep study. Please do not plan on eating dinner at the sleep lab because our technicians will need all of the available time to adequately prepare your child for his/her study. Plan on bringing any snacks your child may need before bedtime and/or breakfast in the morning–remembering that no caffeine products such as coffee, tea, cola drinks, or chocolate are allowed.

What time can we go home the next morning?

The sleep study is completed between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning. You and your child will be ready to leave by 6:30 a.m.

What do we do before my child falls asleep or during any free time?

Please plan on spending the majority of your time with your child in his or her room. Bring reading materials, homework, or other quiet activities to occupy your child during set-up.

How do we receive the results?

The recording will be reviewed by the medical and technical staff (this will take 1-2 working days), and the results will be made available to your physician in 7 - 10 days.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call the Sleep Center at 315-565-4045 or 48- SLEEP.

Your Brain During Sleep

Your sleep technician will measure your head and draw some 'x's with a washable marker so they know where to put small sensors. These sensors are called electrodes and they help the technician know if you are moving a lot or dreaming. They will use paste to attach the sensors. Your mom or dad will be right with you while you get ready to fall asleep and will sleep close to you all night long.

While You Sleep

We use a special sensor under your nose to measure the air you breathe out. The sensors look funny. We also have pajama elastic around your chest and tummy to measure your breathing. These are stretchy so they are comfy while you sleep. A special red light on your finger will measure your oxygen levels all night while you sleep.

Your guardian gets to sleep in your room for the night in a sleeper lounge chair right close by. While you are sleeping your tech will keep a close eye on how your body moves and your breathing. They are able to watch you through a video camera. Your tech might need to come in and check you or fix the tape while you are sleeping.

When you wake in the morning:

When you wake up it will be time to go home. Your tech will help you get all the monitoring equipment off. Then you can change your clothes and head home. You may need a shower to wash off the paste when you get home.