Girl sleeping with stuffed animal in hospital bed

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has a team of pediatric-trained sleep experts who treat children and young adults with a wide range of sleep disorders, including:

  • Abnormal movements in sleep
  • Bedtime resistance
  • Hypersomnia (abnormal daytime sleepiness)
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping at night)
  • Nighttime awakenings
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleepwalking
  • Narcolepsy
  • Nightmares
  • Restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder
  • Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea

As a child’s primary care provider, you can screen for sleep disorders and encourage healthy sleep habits the same way you promote other good habits, such as a healthy diet and exercise. Sleep disorders can affect every aspect of a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.

How to screen for sleep disorders during a busy office

Studies show that asking a simple question—“Does your child have sleep problems?”—is not as likely to identify sleep disorders as using a pediatric screening tool like BEARS. The basic sleep issues are easy to remember with the BEARS acronym.

  • Bedtime problems
    Sample question: Does your child have any problems falling asleep at bedtime?
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
    Sample question: Is your child sleepy during the day?
  • Awake during the night
    Sample question: Does your child wake up a lot at night?
  • Regularity and duration of sleep problems
    Sample question: Is your child’s sleep schedule irregular, with inconsistent bedtimes and wake-up times from day to day?
  • Snoring
    Sample question: Does your child snore a lot or have trouble breathing at night?

If parents answer yes to any of these questions, further investigation is needed. Provide counseling and handouts about common bedtime and sleep problems, and schedule another visit with the time necessary for discussion and management.

Did you know?

  • Obese children are 10 times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which further disrupts sleep and makes these children seven times more likely to experience continued weight gain and hypertension.
  • Early life predictors of obesity include short sleep duration (less than 10.5 hours) during infancy and early childhood.
  • Insufficient duration or disrupted (poor quality/OSA) sleep at night results in:
    • Increased cortisol levels and altered glucose tolerance
    • Release of inflammatory cytokines
    • Increase in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity (hypertension)
    • 20 percent decrease in production of leptin (appetite suppressant)
    • 15-30 percent increase in the production of ghrelin (appetite stimulant)
  • Short sleep duration is common in school-age children, affecting 43 percent of sixth graders. It is even worse in young teens, affecting 70 percent of high school seniors.

To refer a patient to Children’s Physician Group–Sleep, simply complete one of our referral forms. 

Egleston-based providers

The following sleep specialists see patients at the Center for Advanced Pediatrics and the Marcus Autism Center. Call 404-785-DOCS (3627) to reach one of these providers or to make a referral.

Scottish Rite-based providers

The following sleep specialists see patients at Children's at Mount Vernon Highway, Children's at Old Milton Parkway and Children’s at Town Center Outpatient Care Center. Call 404-785-0588 to reach one of these providers or to make a referral.

Fill out an in-service request form for more info

Looking for more information? Our physician outreach liaisons can coordinate an in-service with one of our pediatric specialists. We offer community practices virtual and in-person learning opportunities.