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Sleep Study: What to Expect | Cincinnati Children's


If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor might order a sleep study.

At Cincinnati Children’s, we perform about 3,000 sleep studies a year. Our specialists detect sleep or breathing problems so you and your family can focus on solutions to improve your health.

Johnny Bryant
Registered Respiratory Therapist and Sleep Disorder Specialist: “I think people want to come to Cincinnati Children's because of our skill level. We have about 35 to 40 people that work in the sleep lab. Every acquiring therapist is a registered respiratory therapist. That’s something you don’t see at other facilities. That’s something that we can offer. And right now, about 50 percent of are staff are registered in sleep.”

Here’s what you can expect when you visit the Sleep Center at Cincinnati Children's.

You will receive detailed instructions before your sleep study. You should have limited sugar and no caffeine or chocolate on the day of the study. You should also skip a nap that day.

Bring the same sorts of things you would take on an overnight trip, including pajamas, a stuffed animal, blanket or pillow; toiletries, medications and a change of clothes. Bring any sleep diaries you keep. You can even bring an iPad or other toys.

When you arrive at the main campus or our suburban Liberty campus, you will be checked in and go to the sleep center.

Your respiratory therapist will welcome you and explain the process. Then you can get ready for bed.

Your respiratory therapist will set you up with monitors. You can choose to sit in a chair or on the bed. We use small discs, called electrodes, to measure brain activity and heartbeats. Other sensors measure eye, muscle movements and breathing.

When it’s time for lights out, all electronics will be turned off. Your parent or guardian will stay with you overnight.

Your respiratory therapist will observe you through the night and will be available to adjust your electrodes if they get moved out of place during the test. Please let the respiratory therapist know if you need anything to make you more comfortable.

In the morning, the sleep technician will come in and remove the electrodes and unhook all of the equipment.

After the sleep study is over, our specialists will review the results. You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with the physician who ordered the study. You’ll go over the results during that visit.

James Jenkins
Dad of patient with special needs: “With all of the struggles he has, it’s nice to have a single place. All of the doctors are coordinated. And they know a lot about special needs, Down Syndrome, autism, all the things that Jack struggles with.”

* This video was a collaboration between The Division of Child Life and Integrative Care and the Diagnostic Sleep Center at Cincinnati Children's.

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