Children's Sleep Services
Without proper rest, children and teens cannot function well in school. They may not eat enough or grow properly.They may be grouchy, or extremely sleepy during the day. Although sleep disorders are often experienced by young people at some time in their lives, many go undiagnosed. To help them get a good night's rest, Greenwich Hospital’s Sleep Center offers a specialized program for diagnosis and treatment.
Our Staff Director Stuart W. McCalley, MD, a pulmonologist specializing in sleep disorders.
Saul Rothenberg, PhD, a licensed psychologist and sleep specialist who evaluates children, adolescents and adults with a variety of sleep complaints, including insomnia.
Hossein Sadeghi, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist, evaluates sleep-related breathing disorders in children.
Sleep Technologists, registered respiratory therapists who are specially licensed and trained to monitor advanced equipment used to diagnose specific sleep disorders.
Other Specialists. Because the Sleep Center is located within Greenwich Hospital, children also have convenient access to the hospital’s many services and pediatric specialists. This is an important advantage because diagnosing and treating sleep problems often requires a team effort.
Common Sleep Disorders in Children
Enlarged adenoids or tonsils can contribute to sleep apnea, as well as allergies, weight problems and other medical conditions. Sleep apnea is treatable in children, but is usually best diagnosed in a medical sleep center.
- Sleep apnea. A serious disorder, sleep apnea affects both children and adults. Children with sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods during sleep. They may snore or breathe loudly, experience restless sleep, have a poor appetite and be sleepy during the day. Other symptoms include behavioral problems similar to ADHD/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, extreme shyness, and in severe cases, developmental delays.
- Narcolepsy. Symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive sleepiness during the day and uncontrollable "sleep attacks." This can happen even when a child gets enough sleep. Narcolepsy may occur as early as age 10, but is most common during the teenage years.
- Sleep terrors/sleep walking. Most common in children age four to eight, these disturbances occur during the early part of the night. The child is stuck halfway between being awake and asleep and often has no memory of the event the next day.
Diagnosing a child’s sleep problem
- Nightmares.These often occur at times of transition, stress or change in a child's routine. Nightmares usually occur later in the night and can be remembered the next day.
Any child experiencing sleep difficulties should first be seen by a pediatrician. If the problem cannot be readily treated, the child may be referred to a sleep psychologist, pulmonologist (lung specialist) or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist). They may, in turn, refer the family to Greenwich Hospital's Sleep Center.
To diagnose a sleep disorder, the child will be monitored overnight in one of the Sleep Center’s private rooms. We encourage a parent to remain with the child during this evaluation period. Sleeping accommodations are available for the parent, too. Our staff makes every effort to maintain the child's normal sleep schedule. Bringing a favorite toy or blanket can make the experience feel more like home.
The Sleep Center uses advanced technology called “polysomnography” to evaluate important body functions during sleep. Patients are connected to devices that monitor heart rhythm, brain waves and muscle activity, eye movement, oxygen levels and breathing. A camera allows the technologist to view the child from an adjacent room throughout the night. In the morning, as soon as the test is complete, the child may leave. The data is then analyzed and sent to the child's pediatrician, with recommendations for follow-up treatment.
The Sleep Center at Greenwich Hospital is dedicated to finding a solution to a child's sleep troubles. The length of time it takes to solve sleep problems varies with each child and with the type of problem presented.
For appointments or more information, call the Greenwich Hospital Sleep Center, 203-863-3167, or email Dave.Polaski@greenwichhospital.org.