We just survived our second sleep study. When we got back into the room, I kicked myself for not remember all of the things I SWORE I would remember at the last sleep study. So, in an effort to save myself some aggravation for sleep study number 3, and to share my wealth of knowledge for all of you, I’ve written a useful guide for making it through.
1. Wear proper attire.
Your child will have electrodes placed on their legs, abdomen and head. Make sure they’re wearing something that makes these electrodes easily accessible. For girls, a nightgown is probably your best bed. Boys, shorts and a t-shirt. Footed sleepers are a mistake. One that I’ve now made twice.
Parents should wear something they can sleep in comfortably that won’t creep the tech out. Bring a couple of pairs of socks. Believe me. I’ve spent much time in a hospital. Having a few extras around are a necessity. Also wear a sweater. You never know if your crappy chair/bed is going to be situated right under the ac that no one can seem to figure out how to turn down.
If you think your child is the least bit sick, cancel the sleep study. Cancel it fast. There’s nothing worse than having a sick kid that wont sleep AT a sleep study. Abby got a fever at her first one and would sweat the electrodes off.
3. Bring your own bedding
This is pretty much a good idea for any hospital stay. Hospital bedding is the worst. THE WORST. It’s like they specifically design it to tangle. The sheets aren’t so much as sheets as large skin exfoliators. I brought my own blanket for me and by 11pm, I had to give it to Abby because she refused to keep the hospital covers on herself. The pillows aren’t pillows, either. They’re sadness in a pillowcase. And I know you’re thinking, “I’ll look like a huge idiot carrying all of my bedding through a hospital.” You’re right. You totally will. But you’ll thank me.
4. Bring your child’s favorite ANYTHING
This time I brought the Ipad, bubbles, her bear, her doll, crayons, paper, etc. Along with that her sippy had milk in it (we usually give her water before bed) and I had brought a bunch of her favorite treats with me. Turns out all I needed was “Finding Nemo” on the hospital TV. But you never know.
5. Have the tech wait until your child is GOOD AND ASLEEP before they start putting the electrodes on.
We’ve done it both ways. Waiting until Abby had been asleep for 20 minutes and then putting them on was the best idea. She slept through almost all of it.
6. Try to sleep yourself. Or don’t. I don’t really care.
I brought all sorts of books and games and stuff to do on my “night off” at the hospital. I ended up playing on my phone. Then I went to sleep. You won’t sleep well and you won’t sleep for long, even if your kid is on their best behavior. Make sure you schedule your night away when you’ll be able to sleep the next day.
For those of you who have done sleep studies with your kids before, do you have any helpful tips to add?
7 thoughts on “How to Survive A Sleep Study.”
We did a sleep study on Drew last year. My advice that worked great for him, was to practice beforehand. Andrew is extremely visual and so we made picture icons of all of the steps we would go through the day of the study. We also practiced hooking Drew up with fake electrodes so he would know what to expect. Then we let him practice hooking Dada up as well. We took pictures of him with the “wires” taped to his head and body. We had a picture of the inside of the room. Etc. And we started this process 2 weeks in advance so that he was thoroughly prepared before that night. Oh, and a social story helped a ton too. He did so well I was shocked. But had we not prepared him so much beforehand…I cringe at the thought of how traumatic it would have been on him. He is 100 lbs and can throw his weight around. We needed him ready, and calm. Worked like a charm.
This is fantastic advice! I could not imagine doing a sleep study with Casey. But we have found that practicing things like blood draws and whatnot before we actually do them helps him SO much. Thank you for sharing!
Absolutely! 🙂 I can’t imagine having to do so many sleep studies! You are my hero! 🙂
“Try to sleep yourself. Or don’t. I don’t really care.”
I feel like this was the point in the post where it became clear this was mostly for you and only a little bit for us.
Jim gets it.
It totally was. I really don’t care about you assholes at all.
Really great post, thanks 🙂
Ugh, we just went through a video monitored sleep study a few months ago. My son is 9 and has fairly severe autism. It was sooooo traumatic. He had to get his electrodes on at 3 pm and then leave them until the morng. Trying to get him through that evening was tough. He was begging, n his own way, to be done and go home. And he did not want to fall asleep in the hospital. Took until about midnight with melatonin and a muscl relaxant. He kept saying “5 minutes tomorrow.” Meaning “in 5 minutes can it be tomorrow so we can be done and go home?” We did prepare a few nights ahead, practiced at home, toured the hospital, etc. and it helped. But the woman who put on his electrodes was awful and that is hard to prepare for. The room was also about 85 degrees and that didn’t help. I hope we don’t have to do that again for him!!