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Children's Hospital Sleep Experts Recommend a Healthy Sleep Routine and Treatment of Sleep Disorders for Back-to-School Success

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 General News J E 4
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PITTSBURGH, Aug. 27 A lack of adequate rest andsleep disorders like sleep apnea will derail the best efforts of many studentsreturning to school over the coming weeks, according to experts at Children'sHospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Four out of 10 children don't get enough sleep and more than 2 millionchildren nationwide suffer from sleep disorders, according to the NationalInstitutes of Health.

Sleep is essential to school performance because it gives children'sbodies and brains time to grow, gives their tissues and central nervous systemtime to undergo necessary repairs and is essential for learning and memoryconsolidation, said Sangeeta Chakravorty, MD, director of Children's SleepProgram.

"Families are adding more and more activities to their children'scalendars and children have more homework than ever before, so sleep is theone area students borrow time from in order to meet these expectations," Dr.Chakravorty said. "Unfortunately, getting less sleep means they inadvertentlysabotage their own school performance. At a minimum, kids ages 6 - 12 need 10hours of sleep a night and teenagers need about 9 hours to maximize theirlearning potential at school."

Complicating matters is the increasing incidence of pediatric sleepdisorders that prevent children from getting a full night's rest. Thesedisorders include insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea (associated with an increasein childhood obesity), nightmares and night terrors.

Children's Sleep Program offers inpatient sleep studies which areconducted during an overnight stay in the hospital and outpatient sleepstudies which are offered at a specially designed testing site next toChildren's North in Wexford. This center includes four sleep rooms withcomfortable beds for both patients and parents, decorated in a child-friendlyfashion.

During these sleep studies, monitors record a patient's snoring, pulse,breathing patterns, sleep stages, oxygenation and exhaled carbon dioxide.These recordings are evaluated the following day by a sleep medicinespecialist at Children's. The specialist can then develop a comprehensivetreatment program that incorporates lifestyle changes and medical therapy.

"Often, children who aren't getting adequate sleep perform poorly atschool or exhibit behavioral issues. Unfortunately, families and educatorsdon't always immediately realize that a lack of sleep may be a majorcontributor to these problems, so they persist," Dr. Chakravorty. "Parents areoften very surprised to learn that the diagnosis of a sleep disorder and theimplementation of a treatment program alleviate these problems."

For more information about pediatric sleep disorders or Children's SleepProgram, please visit http://www.chp.edu.

SOURCE Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
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