Pediatric Sleep Center

The Sleep Medicine Center at Lurie Children's cares for children with:

The Sleep Medicine Center team utilizes their expertise in managing patients who require nocturnal management for sleep disordered breathing through oxygen, PAP therapy, non-invasive ventilation (NIV), and high flow nasal cannula therapy.

The team’s mission is to provide the highest quality, up-to-date pediatric sleep medicine services to all children from birth to 18. The Sleep Medicine Center also engages the community and strives to provide quality educational resources for medical students, pediatric residents, fellows, faculty and medical staff. The team focuses on research efforts to build upon the understanding and knowledge base of the effect of sleep and its pathology on growth, development, health, and well-being of children.

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The Sleep Medicine Center and Sleep Laboratory are primarily ambulatory specialties with a limited availability to provide inpatient services through consultation and polysomnography. Team members provide expert consultation based on American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) guidelines for polysomnography indications.

These include the following:

  • Patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnea (baseline diagnostic polysomnography and titration sleep studies (titration with oxygen, PAP, NIV, and high flow nasal cannula therapy).
  • Pre-operative assessment of patients at high risk for moderate to severe obstruction sleep apnea or obesity hypoventilation syndrome due to obesity, craniofacial anomalies or neurologic disorders.
  • Patients with previously diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea to evaluate effectiveness of surgical intervention.
  • Patients with ALTE, sleep related hypoventilation including neuromuscular disease, chest wall deformities, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome, and primary apnea of infancy.
  • Other indications may include suspected narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder, and frequent parasomnias, nocturnal enuresis, or epilepsy. 

Consultation and polysomnogram may be optional to provide clinical guidance following treatment for suspected obstructive sleep apnea with orthodontia, nocturnal non-invasive mechanical ventilation for therapeutic titration, tracheostomy placed for sleep disordered breathing prior to decannulation, for other respiratory disorders such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or BPD if there is suspicion of sleep disordered breathing, and evaluation of hypersomnia without concern for narcolepsy.

Inpatient consultation should be considered when patient discharge requires either diagnosis or therapeutic intervention for home therapies after careful consideration to the necessity of an inpatient versus ambulatory diagnostic testing. Polysomnography should not typically be pursued in patients with diurnal respiratory support, recent intubation, anesthesia, or pulmonary insult such as bacterial or viral infections. 

The Lurie Children's Difference

The Sleep Medicine Center at Lurie Children’s Hospital was first accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in 1996 and since has been re-accredited every 5 years. The last re-accreditation occurred in 2019. Accreditation by the AASM indicates its highest standard of care, excellent facility management and the highest staff credentials. In addition to providing top-quality care, we also place a strong emphasis on training future pediatric sleep medicine specialists, pediatric sleep and research. The Sleep Medicine Center is the training site for pediatric sleep medicine for the ACGME accredited fellowship training program of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Our center’s current research studies include investigation into measuring excessive sleepiness in children, evaluating the effects of lack of sleep during childhood, and studying infants’ breathing pattern.

Conditions We Treat

Sleep Issues in Infants

  • Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep without parental help
  • Frequent night waking
  • Frequent night feedings
  • Napping problems
  • Apnea of prematurity
  • Breathing problems including periodic breathing, central apneas, and obstructive apneas

Sleeplessness (Insomnia) in Children & Adolescents

  • Bedtime struggles
  • Problems falling asleep 
  • Frequent nighttime waking and/or difficulty returning to sleep
  • Napping problems

Problems of Wake & Sleep Timing

  • Difficulty falling asleep or waking at the desired time
  • Reversal of sleep-wake timings (sleeping during the day, awake at night)
  • Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD)
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Sleeping until late hours in the morning/afternoon on weekends

Daytime Sleepiness/Fatigue

  • Feeling sleepy during the daytime, dozing off easily
  • Taking frequent naps, or resuming napping in an older child
  • Insufficient sleep or inconsistent sleep schedule
  • Sleeping for longer periods at night than usual
  • Excessive sleepiness or fatigue due to medical disorders
  • Narcolepsy; A neurological sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness and in some cases accompanied by episodes of cataplexy (partial or total loss of muscle control, often triggered by a strong emotion such as laughter).

Parasomnias or Unusual Nighttime Events Occurring During Sleep

  • Sleep terrors (incomplete waking, crying or screaming, thrashing, looking upset or frightened)
  • Sleepwalking 
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Periodic limb movements in sleep; frequent kicking or leg jerks while asleep
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS); An urge to move the legs often associated with discomfort during the evening or at bedtime that is relieved by activity and worsened with rest)
  • Dream enacting behavior
  • Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis)

Breathing Problems During Sleep

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (snoring, observed pauses, gasping, snorting, mouth breathing)
  • Central sleep apnea (pauses in breathing frequently not accompanied by snoring)
  • Complex breathing problems in patients with muscle weakness, neurological disorders.

Our Specialists

Allison H. Clarke, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist, The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Ilya Khaytin, MD, PhD

Attending Physician, Autonomic Medicine, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine

Irina Trosman, MD

Attending Physician, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine

Sleep Medicine Visits

Patient visits with sleep medicine physicians are conducted at the following locations:

What to Expect During Your Visit with a Sleep Medicine Physician

  • We can help you and your child get ready for your appointment at the Sleep Center, regardless of age or sleep issue.
  • Overall, the purpose is to gather information on your child's sleep.
  • Before your visit we often recommend that you keep a detailed sleep log of your child's sleep for a couple of weeks before your appointment. This will give us a detailed window into your child’s sleep problems. Download our sleep log. We also request that you complete our new patient questionnaire. Download the questionnaire.
  • Your first visit will last about an hour. You and your child will meet with an attending physician who is a board-certified sleep specialist. Because we are a teaching hospital for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a sleep fellow or medical trainee may accompany or proceed your child's doctor.
  • The initial meeting is comprised of an interview and physical exam. Depending on the nature of the problem, we will then either construct a treatment plan or advise you on the next steps of testing.

Sleep Studies

Sleep studies are conducted at the following locations:

Our state-of-the-art facility laboratories offer individual rooms, allowing families to stay overnight with their children. The Sleep Laboratory is staffed by experienced pediatric sleep technicians. These specialists gather information to help evaluate sleep-related problems. There is availability for sleep studies 7 days a week. To schedule a sleep study, please call 312.227.6740

Please fill out this form and bring it with you to your sleep study appointment

What to Expect During a Sleep Study

If you are coming to our laboratory for a sleep study (also known as polysomnography), you and your child are probably wondering what to expect. Please watch this step-by-step video to learn what to expect during a sleep study setup.

Most sleep studies are completed at night. They typically start between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and finish between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Physicians are not present during the study. The sleep technologist will place sensors on your child’s body to record a number of different body functions. These sensors are not invasive and do not break the skin. They are used to monitor:

  • Brainwaves (EEG)
  • Eye movements
  • Muscle tone
  • Breathing patterns, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels
  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Leg movements

The sleep technologist will then record the sleep study utilizing both audio and video, and will monitor your child’s sleeping pattern by assessing and listening to your child’s breathing and snoring during sleep

How to Prepare for a Sleep Study

Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled time, unless otherwise instructed. 

To ensure we obtain the best diagnostic information for your child, please follow these instructions: 

  • Bathe you child and wash their hair prior to arrival. Please do not apply any oils, styling gel, hair spray, or other materials in your child’s hair as it may interfere with the sensors recording brain waves during the study.
  • Do not give your child any chocolate, tea, or candy that may contain caffeine after 3 p.m. on the day of the sleep study.
  • We require ONE parent or caretaker to stay in the sleep laboratory overnight with your child. Space is limited and there is room for only one parent.
    • Each room is equipped with a full private restroom with shower and a place for parent/caretaker to sleep.
  • Bring the following to your appointment:
    • A list of your child's normal medication as well as any medications they will need to take during their appointment
      • Please note that medications cannot be dispensed or given by our Sleep Medicine Center staff.
    • Your child’s favorite items such as blankets or stuffed animals
    • A pair of pajamas 
      • Do not bring pajamas with feet, since there will be sensors placed over the skin of your child’s shins.
    • Personal items including toothpaste, toothbrush, pajamas and a change of clothing for the day
    • Diapers and formula/milk, if needed
    • Meals or snacks 
  • If your child is on bilevel PAP (bi-PAP) or CPAP, there is no need to bring the machine, mask, and tubing with you, unless otherwise instructed.
  • Tell the staff of any allergies your child might have.
    • If your child is allergic to tape or Band-Aids, please tell our staff before the sensors are applied.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Studies

Wash your child’s hair thoroughly the night before or morning of the sleep study. Don’t use oil, gel or hairspray. Reassure your child that you will stay with him or her through the whole test and that nothing should hurt.

You will want to bring any items your child will need during the night, such as pajamas, a favorite pillow and blanket, a bottle or pacifier and any medications. You may also want to bring a DVD of a favorite movie so your child can watch it while we’re getting him or her ready.

If your child is having an overnight study, one parent or responsible caregiver must stay with your child. We are only able to accommodate one parent or caregiver. You may want to bring pajamas and other personal items for yourself.

If you child is using CPAP, Bi-level or any other device assisting with breathing at night (except for oxygen concentrator), please, bring this device along with the mask and the power cord to the study to verify settings.

Before your sleep study, please also download and fill out our sleep checklist

Please do not let your child sleep in or take extra naps on the day of the study — especially not right before the visit. Your child can eat before the study, but should void caffeinated drinks or chocolate.

The technologist will apply the study sensors on your child. After the technologist gets your child ready for the study, they will dim the lights and let your child go to sleep. You will stay in the room with your child. The technologist may enter the room during the night to make adjustments, but usually won’t have to wake your child up. In the morning, the technologist will wake your child and remove the sensors. Most families leave by 6 a.m.

A doctor in the sleep center will interpret the results of your child’s sleep study and sends preliminary results to the doctor who ordered the study and to certain other doctors involved in your child’s care within 24 to 72 hours. We usually send out the full report within one week. Technologists do not give their impressions or preliminary results before the physician interprets the study.

Find more important details about sleep studies in our informational handouts:
English | Español

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our Sleep Medicine specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). If you have a Lurie Children's MyChart account, you can log in at to schedule an appointment. 

To schedule a sleep study, please call 312.227.6740

Telemedicine Appointments

Telemedicine appointments are now available, in addition to regular clinical visits. Telehealth visits allow patients to access a sleep specialist from the comfort of their own home. To see if your pediatric needs can be met virtually, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).

New Patients

Before your first appointment, we ask that you print and fill out our New Patient Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire, and bring it with you to the appointment.

Download the Sleep Questionnaire 

For Healthcare Providers

If you are a healthcare provider looking to make a referral, please reference the following forms:

Download the Bears Questionnaire

Download the Modified Pediatric Epworth Sleepiness Scale

Download the Sleep Study Referral Form

Download the Anatomical Chart

Download the Sleep Log

Educational Topics for Parents

Recommended Reading on Sleep & Sleep Problems

Additional Resources

Research & Training

Lurie Children’s is affiliated with Northwestern University. Medical trainees from Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital are training in the area of children's sleep and may be present during your child's visit.

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