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What Is a Sleep Study?

Sleep studies are used to help diagnose and treat children with severe sleep disorders such as disordered sleeping, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances. A child will be hooked up to an EEG and other monitoring equipment as they sleep, while a technician constantly monitors their sleep through a camera in the room. It’s similar to an overnight hospital stay, only in a more comfortable environment. Depending on the problem, sleep specialists may want to conduct such sleep studies over several nights. Pediatric sleep centers typically make accommodations for parents to sleep in a room nearby.

What is the purpose of a sleep study for children?

The idea is to get a detailed understanding of a child’s sleep issues that can then be used to diagnose and treat sleep problems. By better understanding how and why these issues arise, they can better treat a child’s condition.

How much does a sleep study cost?

Sleep studies typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000, but are mostly covered by insurance, so long as they are recommended by a pediatrician. Be sure to confirm this ahead of time.

When should parents enroll their child in a sleep study?

Here are some factors to consider in deciding whether a child might benefit from a sleep study:

  1. Does loud, persistent snoring occur more than three nights per week?
  1. Is it accompanied by choking or gagging sounds?
  1. Can you hear a child’s snoring from outside their room?
  1. Is an otherwise potty-trained child wetting the bed at night?
  1. Does a child seem tired during the day despite having slept a normal schedule?
  1. Do they exhibit behavioral, mood, or attention problems during the daytime?
  1. Is a child suffering from intense and recurring nightmares?
  1. Do they routinely engage in sleep-walking, sleep eating, or other behaviors while asleep?

The more of these questions you answered “Yes” to, the more likely your child is to benefit from a sleep study. If you think this could be helpful, ask your pediatrician to refer you to a sleep specialist.


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