Children who have difficulty sleeping soundly may be experiencing a wide range of conditions. Troubled sleep can be caused by poor sleep habits, but it may also signal a more serious medical concern. Left untreated, children who don’t get regular, restful sleep are at risk for delayed growth and development, memory and attention issues, and behavioral problems. Our pediatric sleep disorders experts diagnose the cause of your child’s sleep problem and work with you and your child to ensure your entire family gets a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Disorders that Affect Children
Sleep disorders that affect children cover a broad range of conditions including:
- Circadian rhythm disorders
- Night terrors
- Obstructive sleep apnea (may be caused by an obstruction or blockage in the airways that causes pauses in breathing during sleep, and may be treated by pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists, also called otolaryngologists)
- Poor sleep habits that require behavioral and lifestyle modifications
Less commonly, difficulty falling asleep or staying awake may be signs of movement disorders, such as restless leg syndrome or head banging.
Pediatric Sleep Disorders Specialists
Depending on the reason behind your child’s sleep issues, he or she may be treated by one or more of our pediatric specialists. These experts in child development and behavioral health, neurology, pulmonology, and otolaryngology work together to provide the best care for your child.
Our sleep doctors have completed specialized, additional training to earn board certification in sleep medicine. In addition to providing ongoing education to parents about their child’s sleep problems, our experts contribute to national discussions and publications on pediatric sleep problems. These include sleep disorders associated with rare diseases and sleep-related problems that occur among children with chronic conditions.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
A comprehensive evaluation by our team of experts may uncover the cause of your child’s sleep disorder and start him or her on the path to treatment and better sleep. Our team will review your child’s medical history, perform a physical exam, and discuss your child’s home routines, school success, and relationships. Diagnosis may also require a sleep study.
During a sleep study, called polysomnography, your child and a parent or guardian will stay overnight in one of our sleep labs. While your child is asleep, we will monitor his or her body functions, including sleep stages, eye movements, brain waves, muscle activity, breathing, body positions, and heartbeat. We are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a designation that recognizes our commitment to quality diagnostic services and successful long-term management of sleep disorders.
Family and Support Services
We know how stressful diagnostic testing and medical appointments can be as you pursue solutions for your child’s sleep problems. Through our support services, we hope to make your family’s time at Duke a positive, welcoming, and comfortable experience.
Child Life Specialists
Doctor visits and hospitals can be overwhelming and sometimes scary for children. Our child life specialists explain procedures in ways your child can understand, offer encouragement and emotional support, and use fun activities to help your child relax.
Care Coordinators and Social Workers
We help you navigate the medical system and coordinate the variety of health services your child may need. Care coordinators and social workers can help you contact insurance providers, find resources, and manage details related to your child’s care.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.