Sleep disorders are very insidious and secretive things. I know from personal experience. Adults can have them..and children can have them. You can have one without even knowing it. A child can have one and the parents may never have a clue. A number of years ago I had a sleep study done as part of the treatment process for my treatment resistant bipolar disorder. I was sure that it was totally unneccesary because I was sure that my sleep was fine... I was totally shocked to find out that I had a sleep disorder. I didn't know..and my husband didn't know. But there it was in my Polysomnogram readings and in the videocam recordings taken during my sleep. I have a problem with restless movement at night, and I was told that I was never going down past the second stage of sleep into REM sleep because of this..and that this was triggering my mania over and over again. This sleep study was covered 100 percent by my insurance company because my psychiatrist gave me the referral. I decided to put some information together for this board regarding childhood sleep disorders because I have recently seen a lot of parents here struggling with sleep issues. It's quite well documented that sleep deprivation on any level can cause behavioral, emotional and physical manifestations that resemble other disorders. If you are frustrated that treatments and behavioral training techniques that you are trying for your child don't seem to be working, you may want to look at the following information on sleep disorders in children. DIAGNOSING: Diagnosis of a sleep disorder in an adult or a child begins with a physical examination and may also include neurological or psychological evaluation, blood tests, pulmonary function tests, or other procedures. These are done prior to the sleep study itself. EXPERIENCING A SLEEP STUDY: A detailed sleep study (called a polysomnogram) provides physiological clues about the patient's symptoms. The polysomnogram is a computerized study of the person's sleep pattern and bodily responses during sleep. Using non-invasive electrodes, the polysomnogram records heart rhythm, breathing, eye movements, electrical brain activity, and other body functions throughout the sleep cycle. Additional monitoring may be conducted to study specific problems. For example, persons with suspected sleep apnea may need measurement of nasal or oral airflow with blood oxygen saturation (oxymetry). This testing is performed overnight. Patients stay in comfortable, home-like private rooms with music and television. You can even bring snacks in for your evening munchies! Unobtrusive electrodes and sensors are placed on the legs, arms, chest and head. They are discreetly linked from the patient's room to a central room staffed by sleep specialists. The study includes the following tests (a "channel" means an electrode or sensor): 1 Brain wave activity (EEG) - 4 channels Required for children over 2 y. and adults 2 Eye movement (EOG) - 2 channels Required for children over 2 y. and adults 3 Jaw activity(EMG) Required for children over 2 y. and adults 4 Heart activity - ECG Required for all tests 5 Leg movement - 2 channels Required for all tests 6 Air flow Required for all tests 7 Respiratory activity - chest and abdomen Required for all tests 8 Arterial oxygen saturation Required for all tests 9 End expiratory carbon dioxide Required for children with chronic hyperventilation syndrome and adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 10 Snoring detector Required for patients who report snoring 11 Body position measure Optional 12 pH analyzer * Required for infants suspected of having digestive system disorders 13 Body temperature * Optional for premature babies and for infants 14 Respiratory rate Optional for children 15 Heart rate Optional for children It's a very interesting experience (and kind of fun!)for most kids..there is no pain involved at any time. The sleep technician comes in at the beginning of the study, which commences at about 8pm. It takes about a half hour to place all the electrodes and sensors. Once you are hooked up you can read, watch TV, play a game, whatever you would normally do at night before bed. You get tired and go to sleep naturally. Polysomnogram testing is usually completed by 7 a.m.. Most sleep study clinics have accommodations available for parents whose children are undergoing a sleep study. Depending on the symptoms, accurate diagnosis may require that additional tests be conducted, including: 1. Multiple sleep latency testing, for narcolepsy (a four hour test done during the day). 2. Continuous positive airway pressure, for sleep apnea (another nighttime procedure). 3. Prolonged activity monitoring, to measure abnormal circadian (sleep-wake) cycles. TREATMENT: Usually, sleep disorders can be treated by non-invasive methods. In some cases, treatment may be as simple as changes in the sleep environment or in daily routines. Often, short-term or long-term medications can resolve sleep disorders. Patients with sleep apnea may find relief with nasal CPAP (ventilation assistance). HOW SERIOUS ARE SLEEP DISORDERS? According to research, about 20% of the general population suffers from some degree of sleep disorders which can sometimes be severe enough to cause serious complications, incapacitation and even death. Sleep disorders, regardless of the extent of their severity, can have a profound effect on our lives. Respiratory-related disorders are the cause of most sleep problems. They can cause serious damage to heart and lungs, which, in more advanced stages, may lead to arrhythmia's, hypertension and heart failure. In addition the activity of the central nervous system which regulates sleep architecture is also effected due to decreased oxygen supply to the brain and frequent awakenings. Sleep disorders in children may cause arrested physical and emotional development, behavioral disturbances and a decreasing ability to concentrate. In adults, sleep disorders may cause extreme tiredness, loss of concentration and a pronounced inability to function normally in their daily routines. In addition, patients suffering from sleep disorders are in the high-risk group for causing traffic and work accidents.