The Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at Kennedy Krieger Institute offers overnight sleep studies (polysomnograms, or PSGs), including combined PSG with video EEG, and also multiple sleep latency tests (MSLTs).

Our technologists have extensive experience working with children with disabilities, and take pride in working with families to ensure the study is recorded successfully. As a result, we have a high rate of success recording studies, even on children who have behavioral challenges and who have not been able to tolerate a study in the past. Our physicians are board-certified in pediatrics, child neurology, neurodevelopmental disabilities, sleep medicine, and clinical neurophysiology. They work collaboratively with the referring doctor to obtain the most pertinent information from the studies, so that your child's doctor can make the best informed decisions possible.

Additional Information:
For Referring Doctors
For Parents (Information Packet)
Read the Sleep Study Story to help prepare your child for what to expect

About the Polysomnogram (PSG):

A polysomnogram (or PSG) is also known as an overnight sleep study. During a sleep study, we monitor and record many different body activities that occur during sleep, including brain activity, heart rate, breathing, leg movements, and oxygen level. All of this information is used to make a diagnosis and determine the next stages of treatment.  An overnight technician is specially assigned to each patient (on a one-to-one ratio) and is attentive to his/her needs throughout the night. Below are answers to questions parents frequently have about the sleep study, as well as important instructions for parents and guardians of children who are going to have an overnight sleep study.

Instructions for Preparing for Your PSG:

Please read these instructions at least one day before your child's sleep study.

The Week Before the PSG

  • Keep your child on a regular sleep schedule.

The Morning of the PSG

  • Wash your child's hair. Do not use conditioner or other hair products. You could also wash your child's hair the night before. Conditioner and other hair products interfere with the recording. Remove any hairstyles that will interfere with attaching wires to the scalp (tight braids and corn rows are usually fine).
  • Keep your child on his or her regular sleep schedule. Do not sleep deprive your child to try to make him or her fall asleep faster.
  • Avoid sodas, chocolate and caffeine so that your child can fall asleep.
  • Encourage your child to eat, drink and take medications as usual, unless otherwise instructed.
  • The PSG is an outpatient procedure, so you will be responsible for the usual care of your child. Bring everything you need to care for your child (e.g., medications, formula, diapers, medical equipment and supplies). Also, bring anything you and your child need to feel comfortable staying overnight (pajamas, favorite stuffed animal, special pillow or blanket, storybooks, etc.). Meals are not provided.

Arriving at Kennedy Krieger

  • Complementary parking for our patients is available in our garage, located at 1741 Ashland Avenue.  Please take a ticket, proceed to parking and security can then direct you on getting to the 707 North Broadway building for your study from the 2nd floor of the parking garage.
  • Please go to the 707 North Broadway building. This may be a different building than where you usually see your doctor. The guard at the security desk will tell you where to go next.
  • Patients must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times. Please do not bring other children with you. We can accommodate one parent/guardian overnight.

In the PSG Lab:

  • The technologist will come to get you and your child. When you arrive in the lab, you may play a video and relax.
  • The technologist will put many different monitors on your child. There are no needles. Most children can sleep well even wearing lots of monitoring.
  • The technologist will set up the monitoring before your child goes to sleep. If you have specific concerns about whether your child will be able to fall asleep wearing the monitoring, please feel free to discuss these with us before coming in for the test.
  • As part of the monitoring, the technologist will clean your child's scalp with a mild abrasive cream on a Q-Tip.
  • The technologist will apply the wires with a gel. This does not hurt.
  • Part of the monitoring will involve placement of a nasal cannula (narrow plastic tubing) a little way into your child's nostrils to monitor the air they breathe out. This does not hurt. Some children with sensory issues may find it uncomfortable.
  • You must stay with your child during the entire study.
  • We record audio and video of all patients having studies.
  • We do not use sedation or restraints.
  • When the study is over, the gel from the wires will usually stay in the hair. Your child will probably need to bathe at home in order to get the gel out of his/her hair.
  • If you are having an overnight study, the test usually ends between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. Patients and parents will need to depart just after the test is over.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I’m not sure my child can tolerate a PSG. How will I know if my child might have trouble with this procedure?

  • Review the Overnight Sleep Study social story. Do you think your child will be able to tolerate the procedure? Do you think your child will be scared by any of the equipment?
  • Can your child tolerate people touching him? Is there any concern that your child may become distressed or aggressive if a technician is in their close personal space?
  • Can your child tolerate things on her head or face? Will your child wear headbands or hats?
  • Can your child tolerate sticky or grainy textures? Will your child wear bandaids?

If you answered “no” to the questions above, you and your child may benefit from behavioral support and procedural preparation prior to attempting a PSG. The Pediatric Psychology Consultation Program has extensive experience with preparing children with and without neurodevelopmental disabilities for medical procedures. (link to Pediatric Psychology website)

Please review the PSG Lab FAQ for answers to the following questions:

  • Why would my doctor order an overnight sleep study?
  • Can non-Kennedy Krieger doctors order sleep studies at Kennedy Krieger?
  • What types of sleep studies do we perform?
  • How do I get results?
  • How do I get a copy of my sleep study?

If you have additional questions, please call (443) 923-9386.