Sleep Study for 3 Year Old

Updated on July 17, 2012
J.M. asks from Oakland, CA
5 answers

My 3 year old has been scheduled for a sleep study. She has never slept that well, and at her last check up I mentioned that plus some other things to her pediatrician (she snores REALLY LOUD, and my husband believes that she has pauses in her breathing when she sleeps, and he himself has a mild sleep apnea)... and by the end of the conversation her doctor was ready to make a referral to the sleep clinic. So we have a sleep study scheduled for the end of the month. Now, I'm thinking, kid who already has a lot of trouble sleeping... strange environment.... sensors taped to her.... this is going to go well, right? Yeah.

So... I'm wondering if anyone here has gone through a sleep study with a preschooler. What was your experience? What was the outcome? And was there any specific treatment/follow up? The doc was a little fuzzy on that part, she said she wanted to see the data first before making any specific recommendations.

Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

I appreciate the advice and information. We did do the sleep study. I adopted many of the suggestions here - we made an afternoon of it, went and bought new jammies, went out to dinner, it was fun. The study itself was awful, but my daughter was such a little trooper. I was so proud of her. I took her for donuts on the way home in the morning. :) They found that she has a mild to moderate sleep apnea. We now have a referral to an ENT to have her adenoids looked at and to see if they recommend surgery. Thank you once again for the help!

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

Here's some tips:

1) Talk about the sleep study with her well in advance. Talk about how you're going to have a “sleepover” in the clinic, and that it is going to be so much fun! And that you'll have snacks, paint your nails and watch movies, take a portable DVD player and a couple of her favorite DVD's, the one there may not work :-/ Oh, and stickers in a sticker book!

2. Bring snacks. Stay away from caffeine, chocolate, and soda, take water, bananas, juice, crackers and let her pick something out as a special treat.

3. Make it a date. Have a dinner date first, it can be in the cafeteria, but it's a date!

4. Bring a fun sleeping bag for her. The room more than likely will be boring. Take a shopping trip with her to pick one up if she doesn't have one.

5. Bring some new books. Use them when the tech is placing all of those wires on her to keep her occupied and distracted.

6. Stick to her bedtime routine, but make it special. You can't do a bath but do brush her teeth, get her in her pj's, read some books, play music if that's what you usually do, and maybe paint her toenails then.

7. Know your child best. She may not be enthused about nose tubes to monitor her breathing and such, ask if you can do them once she's asleep rather than her make a scene.

8. Have a bribe in mind, she may want to mess with things she shouldn't, know something she would like and promise it to her the next day if she cooperates and doesn't play with things that aren't hers..

9. Have a surprise in mind, like doughnuts for breakfast, but just tell her if she does what she needs to she'll get a surprise and follow through.

10. Plan on her having a bath when you get home, they will be using gel to keep the leads on her throughout the night, which will leave her sticky and messy.

Remember everything is strange to her and might be scary, the room, the equipment, things on her be patient and plan to snuggle a lot.

And, the doctor doesn't know what's up yet so can't fill you in on what will happen afterwards, that's why she's having the study, to find out what she needs, if anything.

Best wishes ツ

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with the previous answers. .. postphone that sleep study and go to an ENT ! my daughter used to get tonsillitis about every month and by the time she was ready to start school at 5 years old the pediatritian told me we would be best to get her tonsils out so she wouldn't miss so much school.. she also snored loudly and it was always hard to get her to sleep... after her tonsils, adenoids and tubes in ears she no longer snored and slept wonderfully...

unfortunately we had to change medical coverage from a private doctor to Kaiser and although my pediatritian there was good... my son .. who had huge tonsils but never got tonsilitis and slept well never got his tonsils out (my fault) I finally got the referral to the ENT from Kaiser but the doctor was not very helpful.. she said "well, if you think he should have them out",..... it wasn't that I thought so.. or not.. I was listening to the dumb doctor.. hmm now my son is 27 years old, still has the huge tonsils, has a C-pap which he won't use and doesn't sleep well.. I don't have a lot of control over that now.. but I did then!!! now I just have to nag : (

long story sorry.. but I definitely would go to a good ENT... Good luck!!



answers from Tyler on

Love the previous post! Such great advice! We took a portable DVD player for my son to watch his favorite movie as they were getting him set up. My son had his sleep study at 18 months. He snored and had never slept through the night. Turns out he had sleep apnea due to large tonsils and adenoids. He had them both removed after he turned two a couple months ago and has been sleeping much better!! Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Just want to reiterate what Jilly said. Sounds exactly like my son. Snoring, sleep apnea, night terrors. We removed the adenoids and got ear tubes (left his tonsils), and he has been fine very since. Contact an ear, nose and throat doc asap and reschedule the sleep study until after your ENT appt.



answers from Miami on

Hi. We were going to do this exact study. we went for a second opinion. the dr. said we don't need to do the study as he can hear by our son's breathing he has sleep apnea and needs his tonsils out. We had the tonsils out last dec (age 3 yrs and 3 months).

best thing we did. sleep fixed. our son grew like a tree.

upshot: go to an ear nose throat dr to have tonsils and adenoids checked. you may not need the sleep study.

best. jilly

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