Prepare for Your Child's Sleep Study

  • Instructions for your child's sleep study

    The following information will help you and your child prepare for overnight, inpatient, and multiple sleep latency tests.

  • Overnight sleep study

    Before the study

    Check with your child's physician about medications

    Let the physician who is ordering the sleep study know the type of medication and dose before ordering the study. Your child’s physician will decide whether to continue or discontinue a medication, since some drugs may interfere with the quality of your child's sleep or make it more difficult for our staff to interpret study results.

    This is especially important if your child is using anti-reflux medications, sedatives or stimulants. These medications may have to be discontinued three to 14 days before the study, but be sure that you bring the medications with you in case your child needs to use them during the night.

    If your child has asthma you should also bring along his medications as well as his nebulizer, spacer, etc. If your child is using BiPAP/CPAP, you should also bring those along so we can measure how they are working.

    Referrals

    If you require a referral for office visits or other outpatient studies, you will also require one for the sleep study. If a pH probe is being included with the sleep study, a separate referral will be required for the pH probe and the X-ray.

    If your child is sick

    If your child develops a fever, vomiting or is not feeling well, the study should be postponed. If you're unsure, call us to discuss your child's illness.

    Cancellations

    If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call as soon as possible so we can offer your spot to another patient.

    On the day of the study

    You and your child should arrive by 6 p.m. and go to the Sleep Center, located on the 7th floor of the Main building.

    The sleep technician will discuss your child's bedtime routine with you to make sure your child goes to bed at the usual time. The technician will begin the set-up for your child's sleep study about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. This set-up includes the following equipment: 

    • A bandage-like sensor that measures your child's oxygen will be placed on the toe or finger
    • Small plastic prongs at the nose will measure your child's exhaled air
    • Elastic or cloth belts will be placed on your child's chest and stomach, usually over his pajamas
    • Stick-on electrodes will be placed on your child's face and chest to measure eye movements, heart rate and muscle tone during sleep. A few additional electrodes are applied with a washable paste on your child's scalp to measure stages of sleep

    The set-up process is painless but does involve about an hour of cooperation on the part of your child. To best prepare your child, keep napping to a minimum on the day of the study.

    Meals

    No meals are provided in the Sleep Center so plan accordingly. When you and your child arrive, you will be given ample time to get something to eat or you can bring food from home. We encourage you to bring any toys, stuffed animals or other items that will help your child feel more comfortable.

    Plan on staying with your child

    We usually request that a parent or legal guardian be with each child at all times. This will help your child feel less anxious, more comforted, and more likely to cooperate

    Our rooms are small and can only comfortably accommodate one parent. A chair that folds out to a bed is available in each bedroom. If both parents need to stay overnight, let us know 48 hours in advance. If necessary, an additional parent may need to stay in another area of the Hospital, such as the Connelly Resource Center for Families.

    Don't let your child nap on the day of the study

    Keeping your child from napping may help him fall asleep easier in the lab. Of course, it may be difficult to prevent your child from falling asleep on the ride to CHOP, but do your best to minimize napping the day of the study.

    What should you bring on the day of the study?

    • Your child needs to wear or bring comfortable loose-fitting clothing. A button-down shirt or loose-fitting nightshirt is fine.
    • Snacks and special treats can help your child through the equipment set-up and make the overnight stay seem more like a special occasion.
    • Each bedroom is equipped with a TV and DVD, so bring a favorite movie along.
    • Bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, pillow or anything that may alleviate any fears.
    • You may want to bring food or take time to have dinner in the CHOP cafeteria. Upon your arrival, we allow for ample time to have dinner before beginning the equipment set-up on your child.
    • You must bring all of your child's medications, formula, special foods and medical equipment for the overnight sleep study.

    What time will the study end?

    Typically, the study ends by 7 a.m. There are occasions where it can end earlier or later, depending on how well your child slept through the night. Requests to end the study earlier because of work or school commitments can also be made. Occasionally a daytime study, called a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), is required. Our sleep specialists will discuss this with you in advance.

  • Inpatient sleep study

    You and your child should arrive by 4 p.m. on the scheduled day and go to admissions on the 1st floor of the Main building. You will then be assigned a room where equipment will be brought to your child's bedside, or your child may be brought to the Sleep Center Lab.

    The sleep technicians will begin placing the equipment on your child for the sleep study. The various pieces of equipment we will monitor your child with include:

    • A bandage-like sensor that measures your child's oxygen will be placed on the toe or finger
    • Small plastic prongs at the nose will measure your child's exhaled air
    • Elastic or cloth belts will be placed on your child's chest and stomach, usually over their night clothes
    • Stick-on electrodes will be placed on your child's face and chest to measure eye movements, heart rate and muscle tone during sleep. A few additional electrodes are applied with a washable paste on your child's scalp to measure stages of sleep

    The set-up process mentioned above is painless but does involve about an hour of cooperation on the part of your child. To best prepare your child, keep napping to a minimum on the day of the study.

    No meals are provided in the Sleep Center so please plan accordingly. When you and your child arrive at the Sleep Center, you will be given ample time to get something to eat or you can bring food from home. We encourage you to bring any toys, stuffed animals or other items that will help your child feel more comfortable.

    The sleep study will end between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

    Medications

    Please remember to bring all medications that your child is presently taking, respiratory and G-tube equipment and CPAP and BiPAP units with all masks being used.

    Overnight stay

    One parent must stay overnight with your child if the sleep study is performed in the Sleep Center Lab. If you have any concerns regarding these recommendations, please call 215-590-3703.

    Cancellations

    If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call 215-590-3703 as soon as possible so we may offer your spot to another patient.

    Referrals

    Please bring this with you if you require a referral.

  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test

    A multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) is always performed the day after an overnight sleep study. The purpose of this study is to assess the sleepiness of your child after an overnight study in which the quality of sleep has been monitored. Your child will be awakened by 6:30 a.m. so that the first nap can begin between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.

    The electrodes that were placed on your child for the overnight study will remain, but some adjustment or reapplication may be necessary in the morning. The MSLT study is run at different intervals during the day, approximately every two hours from the first nap. You and your child should plan on being in the Sleep Center until approximately 5 p.m.

    Your child should wear loose, comfortable clothing that allow the pants leg to be raised. Between nap times, you should have activities available, such as homework, reading materials or music to keep your child from getting bored. Your child will not be allowed to sleep between naps.

    Two meal vouchers, each valued at $5, will be provided for your child during his stay in the Sleep Center. These vouchers are only redeemable in the Hospital cafeteria.

    Medications

    If your child is on medications for neurological disorders or excessive daytime sleepiness, please notify us by calling the Sleep Center at 215-590-3703. Please don't let your child consume foods or beverages containing caffeine on the day of the study.

Reviewed on April 02, 2014