Sleep Medicine at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9845 3437
Location: Rotary Wing, near Turner Day Stay

The Sleep Unit at The Children's Hospital at Westmead was the first Paediatric Sleep Unit to be established in NSW and continues to be one of the biggest and busiest units in Australia.

The Sleep Unit is a part of the Respiratory Support Service. This service provides diagnostic and treatment facilities for children with sleep-associated disorders. At The Children's Hospital at Westmead we see all types of sleep disorders, but we specialise in respiratory disorders that affect children during sleep. This includes obstructive sleep apnoea, chronic lung diseases, and problems with ventilation. Many of these respiratory disorders only appear during sleep times, or else they get worse during sleep.

Also see Respiratory for more information.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study is a test that is done to diagnose your child's sleep problem. A sleep study is an overnight test that monitors brain waves, breathing through the nose and mouth, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, heart rate and body movements.

The sleep study results are used to indicate if further treatment for your child is needed. This may include surgery or the use of a device to provide breathing support for your child.

It is very important that a follow-up appointment is made with your referring doctor or sleep/respiratory doctor to discuss the results of the sleep study and plan further treatment if deemed necessary.

What happens during a sleep study?

You will be asked to arrive at the hospital between 4pm-4:30pm and check in through the Bandaged Bear Clinic where you will be directed to the David Read Sleep Unit.

When you arrive, the Sleep Unit staff will explain what will happen. They will attach sensors to various parts of your child's body. This is painless. Sensors are placed on the head, chin, face, chest and legs. Your child is then free to move around, eat dinner, watch television and play until bedtime.

Dinner will be provided for your child. If your child is bottle fed or has special diet needs, you will need to provide these. The Sleep Unit has a fridge and microwave. The cafeteria is also open until 8pm and meals can be purchased there for yourself.

Before your child goes to bed, further equipment is added. A small plastic tube is put under the nose to measure airflow. Two elastic straps are put around the chest and stomach to measure breathing. A probe is put on the finger to measure oxygen. Another sensor is put on the skin to measure carbon dioxide and another plastic sensor above the top lip to measure breathing through the mouth.

All the sensors are then connected to a computer which monitors the study.

A parent is required to stay overnight with their child. A bed is provided for only one parent.

We hope to monitor your child for at least eight hours overnight. Your child will then be woken between 5:30am and 6:00 am to be disconnected from the sensors. Your child can then shower and then you are free to go home.

The results of the sleep study will be sent to your referring doctor.

What do you need to bring?

  • Medicare Card
  • A valid referral Letter (if you have not given us one already)
  • You should bring any familiar items your child uses such as a pillow, toys and books. These items can be a comfort to your child and may help them sleep
  • Button-up pyjamas
  • Toiletries for you and your child - shower facilities are available
  • If your child is on CPAP or BiLevel therapy, then you need to bring all equipment to the sleep study (i.e. CPAP/BiLevel machine, mask and tubing)
  • Medications your child uses or may need
  • You should also bring your own pyjamas and a good book

One parent or carer must stay with the child overnight. A single is bed is provided in the room for one carer. If other family members are travelling with you and require accommodation, please phone the Sleep Administration on (02) 9845 2525.

Please do not hesitate to contant the Sleep Medicine Unit if you have any further questions about sleep studies.