AFCH Inpatient Overnight Sleep Study
What is an overnight sleep study?
An overnight sleep study is a special test
done in the hospital to see how much or how
well your child sleeps. The study checks
your child’s breathing, heart rate, oxygen
levels and body movements during sleep. It
helps your doctor decide what, if any,
equipment and settings your child needs to
get a better night’s sleep.
What do I need to get ready?
Your child is admitted to the hospital the
afternoon of the sleep study.
ξ Bring comfort items such as pillows,
blankets or toys your child uses for
sleep. A two piece pajama set
without feet work best. Bring a pair
of socks to put on your child’s feet.
ξ If your child uses a pacifier, bring
different sizes in case one works
better with the equipment.
ξ Please avoid tight braids, hair pieces,
hair weaves or hair oils. They can
make it hard to put electrodes on
your child’s scalp.
ξ Bring any medicine, equipment and
supplies your child may need
overnight. We provide meals for
your child during the study.
ξ If your child is on a ventilator,
bring both ventilators, circuits,
and connections to humidity. If
your child uses CPAP or BIPAP,
please bring all masks, tubing, and
the CPAP or BIPAP machine. We
use your child’s home equipment
to study how your child sleeps in
bed at home.
ξ If there are things that help calm and
distract your child like a DVD, iPad
or other toys, please bring these to
the hospital. It may take 30-60
minutes to get all of the equipment
on your child for the sleep study.
Should I plan to stay with my child?
We need one parent or caregiver to stay
with your child overnight and help with
the sleep study. If a parent or caregiver is
not present, we cannot do the sleep study.
We need your help to distract and comfort
your child to get the best quality sleep study.
Only one parent or caregiver can stay in
the hospital room. Other children cannot
stay in the hospital room overnight.
Please have other family members sleep at
home or with relatives or friends that night.
The parent or caregiver may be asked to
wake up a few times during the night to
help. Sometimes parents or caregivers tell
us they are tired the day after the study.
Please plan ahead if you have a long drive
home the next day.
If needed, The Ronald McDonald House
provides housing for families whose kids are
having treatment at American Family
Children’s Hospital (AFCH). The house is
just three blocks away from AFCH. It has
18 bedrooms that can hold up to 4 people.
Only one room is available for each
patient’s family. Please call the AFCH
Guest Depot at 608-890-8000 to arrange for
your first stay at the house. If you have
stayed there before, you can call the house
directly at 608-232-4660. There is no cost
to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, but
if families are able we ask for a $10.00
donation a night.
Where do I go for the overnight sleep
Come to the American Family Children’s
Hospital at 4:00 pm. We have included a
map and driving directions. There is valet
parking at the front entrance. When you get
to the first floor, find the desk called the
Guest Depot. A stop there starts the
If your child is already in the American
Family Children’s Hospital, the sleep study
is done in your child’s room.
What happens when I get to my child’s
The doctors and nurses on the unit will ask
you about your child’s medical history and
do a physical exam. The pharmacist will talk
to you about the medicines your child takes.
A respiratory therapist will check your home
What happens during the sleep study?
A sleep technician will hook up your child
to the monitors and sensors that are part of
the sleep study. None of these are painful.
There are no needles. The sensors include
electroencephalogram (EEG) or brain wave
and electromyogram (EMG) monitors
attached to your child’s head and face.
These sensors give information about the
stages of sleep and whether sleep is being
disturbed. Sensors placed at the nose and
mouth measure the flow of air in and out of
the lungs. Belts around the chest sense your
child’s breathing effort. Electrocardiogram
(EKG) measures heart rate. A sensor
attached to a finger or toe (pulse oximeter)
measures oxygen levels. There will most
likely be another EMG monitor attached to
your child’s legs to measure leg movements.
A microphone is also placed to detect
snoring. A video camera allows the sleep
technician to watch your child during sleep.
The camera will record any unusual
behaviors during sleep.
A specially trained sleep technician tries to
attach all the sensors before your child falls
asleep and may need your help. You can be
a big help by using your child’s favorite
distraction techniques, and talking to your
child in a calm soothing voice. If your child
doesn’t accept the placement of the sensors,
the sleep technician tries to attach these
sensors after your child has fallen asleep.
While you sleep
The sleep technician will be outside your
door checking your child during the night.
There may be times the technician needs to
wake you up to ask for help. The respiratory
therapist may need to connect your child to
some new equipment, or change settings on
the equipment already attached to your
child, to promote better sleep. The nurse
may also need to come in and help.
What time will I be able to leave?
Unless you have been given other
instructions, the sleep study ends around 6
am. Soon after the sleep study ends, and
before discharge home, the nurse,
pharmacist, and doctor taking care of your
child during the night need to see your child.
We plan on discharge early in the morning.
When will I know the results of the
overnight sleep study?
A specially trained sleep doctor looks at the
results of the sleep study the next day. The
pulmonologist gives you the results of the
sleep study within a week after the study. If
you have questions about the results of the
sleep study, please contact the doctor who
ordered the sleep study. If you have other
health questions, please contact your child’s
primary care doctor.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
We don’t have a lot of appointment times
for sleep studies, so it is best to keep your
appointment. If you can’t please let us know
at least 5 days before the study. The sooner
you let us know, the more likely we can give
the appointment time to another child.
Reasons to cancel or reschedule a sleep
study include fever (temperature greater
than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit), significant
cough or nasal congestion, or other major
illness. If your child should become ill,
please contact the Pediatric Pulmonary nurse
as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about the sleep
study, call the AFCH Pediatric Pulmonary
nurse line at 800-824-8924 or 608-263-6420
Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30
PM. Press Option 2 and leave a message
with the scheduler for the Pediatric
For questions that come up overnight, on the
weekend, or on holidays, please phone the
AFCH paging operator at 608-263-6420 and
ask for the pediatric pulmonologist on
Website link for a teenager living with
sleep apnea using CPAP:
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7700