When Your Child Isn't Sleeping Well, Neither Do You

It's easy to recognize when your child isn't sleeping well, determining the cause of your child's sleep disturbance is much more difficult.

Pediatric Sleep Disorders: A Real Problem

You are not alone. According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, two of every three children under the age of ten experience a sleeping problem.

One of the most significant sleep disorders, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), occurs  in 2 - 4% of children.  Snoring, long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning in bed, chronic mouth breathing while sleeping, and night sweats are all symptoms of pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

How Does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect My Child?

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea has serious consequences on children’s well being and can be manifested by:

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning Difficulties and Poor School Performance
  • Obesity
  • Restless Sleep
  • Behavior problems
  • Bed-wetting
  • Sleep-walking
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Hormonal and metabolic problems

How do I recognize if my child has sleep apnea? “I'M SLEEPY " Is a Screening Tool to Help You!

Parent Version:

I -         Is your child often Irritated or angry during the day?

M -       Body Mass Index above 85%?

S -       Does your child usually Snore?

L -        Does your child sometimes have Labored breathing at night?

E -       Ever noticed a stop in your child's breathing at night?

E -       Does your child have Enlarged tonsils and / or adenoids?

P -       Does your child have Problems with concentration?

Y -       Does your child often Yawn or is often tired / sleepy during the day?

Source: I'M SLEEPY: A short pediatric sleep questionnaire / G. Kadmon, et. al. / International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 78 (2014) 2116 - 2120 

I Answered “YES” to 1 or More Questions in the I’M SLEEPY Screening Tool; What’s Next?

If you or your child answered “Yes” to these questions, it’s time to talk to your pediatrician or your family’s primary care provider. If indicated, your pediatrician may refer your child for an overnight sleep study, also know as a polysomnography. An overnight polysomnography is performed at the Sleep Disorders Center, where a technician will connect several sensors to your child to record and monitor breathing, brain wave activity, muscle activity, heart rate and rhythms, and oxygenation.

What Happens After the Sleep Study?

The results of the polysomnography will show if your child suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. Children who test positive for sleep apnea often have enlarged tonsils and adenoids which can be effectively treated with surgical procedures called tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy.

Another effective treatment for sleep apnea is called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This treatment requires that your child wear a mask while sleeping. The CPAP delivers constant pressurized room air through the mask and into your child’s airway, thereby preventing sleep apnea. CPAP is usually used in children where sleep apnea is not improved after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy, or in children who are not candidates for such surgical procedures.

Overweight children are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Most overweight children will improve if they lose weight, but may need to use CPAP until the weight is lost.    

Children born with other medical conditions, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or craniofacial (skull and face) abnormalities, are at higher risk for sleep apnea. Children with these conditions may need additional treatments.

The Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center: Why Choose Us?

Our team of board-certified sleep specialist(s) and knowledgeable staff and technicians has the advanced knowledge and professional training necessary to evaluate, diagnose, and treat children, from ages 6 - 18,  who struggle with sleep problems. In every instance we will work closely with you and your child's primary provider, to assure the best level of care for your child.

BMI Calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.





Your BMI Score is:


Your BMI indicates your weight is in the underweight range. By gaining a few pounds, you may lower your chances of health problems.

Congratulations! Your BMI indicates that your weight is in the healthy range.

Your BMI indicates your weight is in the overweight range. To lower your chances of health problems, you may consider losing some weight.

Your BMI indicates your weight is in the obese range, which can have a significant impact on your health.

All information provided by this website is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional. No information provided in this site may be considered medical advice. The information may not be relevant for your individual situation and may be misinterpreted. HCA assumes no responsibility for how you use information obtained from this site. Before making any decisions regarding your health care, ask your personal physician.