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At the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s, we care for children—from newborns to adolescents—with a wide variety of sleep problems. The Center was established in 1978 by pediatric sleep medicine authority, Richard Ferber, MD as the first comprehensive Pediatric Sleep Center in the Country.
Today, we see more than 3,000 children each year in our Sleep Center (clinics and laboratories). We now have sleep clinic facilities in four locations: Sleep specialists see patients at locations in Boston, Waltham, Lexington, Weymouth and Peabody. Our sleep laboratories are located in Boston.
A focus on children:
All of our doctors, nurses and sleep lab technologists specialize in working with children, and every aspect of what we do is designed specifically for children. We take time to carefully diagnose your child’s condition and provide close follow-up care. At every step, we work together with families: We consider you to be a central part of the care team.
A multidisciplinary approach:
Our primary team includes providers from Neurology, Pulmonary and Respiratory Diseases, and Developmental Medicine who work together to diagnose and treat a variety of complex and chronic sleep disorders. Associate members of our team are from other departments, including Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement, Gastroenterology, Psychiatry/Psychology, Dentistry and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. We also work closely with your primary care physician.
Specialized equipment and techniques:
Our Center uses advanced methods and sleep-monitoring technologies to study your child’s sleep and breathing patterns throughout the night. In addition, we have an Actigraph monitor that records your child's sleep patterns throughout the course of the week. The Actigraph looks like a watch and is mailed to the patient after the physician places an order during the clinic visit. The patient wears the Actigraph watch for one to three weeks and the recorded data is reviewed by our Sleep physicians. The recorded data will allow us to noninvasively monitor the patient's sleep patterns.
A short wait time:
We try to quickly schedule consultations and sleep studies. All new patients must be seen by a sleep clinician prior to scheduling a sleep study.
The Sleep Center at Boston Children’s Hospital provides careful evaluation and close follow-up of children who are experiencing sleep disorders.
The center, established in 1978, has a unique level of experience: Much of the current knowledge of children’s natural sleep patterns—and the problems children can experience—was discovered here. In addition, our experts developed many of the clinical approaches that are now used generally to diagnose and manage these disorders.
Today, we continue to look for ways to improve the care we can provide. Some of issues we work on are outlined below.
A history of helping sleepless children
Richard Ferber, MD, founder and former director of the center, had a special focus on children who have trouble sleeping. He devoted his career to finding solutions for these children and their families, and is also known to many families through his popular book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems.
Caring for children with a wide range of sleep-related breathing disorders
When children have trouble breathing at night, it can cause behavioral and learning problems. What’s more, it now appears that in some cases these breathing disorders may have additional long-term medical consequences. So our team takes sleep apnea seriously: We carefully evaluate your child’s symptoms, talk with your family in-depth, and look for the best treatment plan for your child.
The respiratory and pulmonary disease specialists on our team also conduct a variety of clinical studies to learn more about what causes sleep apnea, how it affects children, and how best to treat it.
Developing treatments for children with other conditions
Sometimes, underlying medical conditions can lead to serious sleep disturbances, and physicians at Boston Children’s are working to find treatments for these unique patients. One example is craniopharyngioma, a common childhood brain tumor. Unfortunately, treatments to fight these tumors often cause unwanted side effects, including sleep abnormalities.
A recent clinical study at Boston Children’s indicated that these children can develop problems with their circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycles during the 24-hour day). The discovery is leading the researchers to look for ways to stimulate these sleep cycles and thus, they hope, to solve the children’s sleep problems.
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”