Sleep Disorders Program

Good sleep is important for your child, no matter if they are a baby, a toddler or a teenager. During a sound sleep, your child’s body gets extra help from blood flow and hormones to help with growth and development.

That’s why children spend 40% of their childhood sleeping. But if your child is struggling to get enough sleep — whether it’s at night or during naps — they may have a sleep disorder. And disorders like sleep apnea can also cause problems of their own, such as behavioral challenges, slowed growth, and hormonal and metabolic problems.

The Sleep Disorders Program at Children’s Nebraska is dedicated to diagnosing, managing, and treating sleep-related disorders to help your child regain healthy sleeping habits.

Make An Appointment

A referral is not needed to schedule a Sleep Clinic appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 402-955-7378(REST) or fax a clinic referral form to 402-955-3693(DOZE).

A referral is needed for an appointment at the Sleep Lab. If a sleep study is needed, please have your child’s provider complete the sleep study request form or call us at 402-955-7378(REST).

For the Behavioral Sleep Clinic, call 402-955-3900.

For more information, call 402-955-7378(REST).

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Common sleep problems include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Central sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Head banging/rocking
  • Bedtime refusal
  • Sleep fears
  • Sleep terrors
  • Nightmares
  • Sleepwalking

What Sets Children’s Apart?

We are among the most comprehensive pediatric sleep disorders program in the country:

  • Our Sleep Disorders Program is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This means we meet high standards of care for treating children with trouble sleeping. We are one of only 24 accredited pediatric sleep medicine programs in the country.
  • Our newly renovated Sleep Lab has 6 beds, including accommodations for one parent to sleep.
  • Our lab is equipped with state-of-the-art sleep study technology, and our sleep studies are performed by registered polysomnographic technologists.
  • To make scheduling a sleep study more convenient for your child and your family — and to make sure your child doesn’t miss school for the study — our sleep lab is open 7 nights a week.
  • We are able to perform sleep studies during hospital admissions.
  • We are able to integrate our care with Children’s Home Healthcare and other home health agencies with experience in pediatric care in order to provide optimal equipment for children.
  • We actively manage our patients who are on non-invasive and invasive ventilation with cloud-based online platforms that allow review of CPAP/BiPAP and ventilator data.

Services We Offer

Our Sleep Disorders Program has clinics to restore your child’s normal sleep patterns. Your child’s care team will include providers who are specially trained in pediatric sleep medicine.

Our team will assess your child’s condition and decide which clinic is best for your child’s sleep problems. The clinics we offer are:

Sleep Disorders Clinic — For Primary/Physiological Sleep Disorders

In our Sleep Disorders Clinic, we treat sleep disorders caused by physical health conditions, such as sleep apnea from a blocked airway. Your child will work with pediatric pulmonologists who are specially trained in pediatric sleep medicine.

Some of the conditions we treat at the Sleep Disorders Clinic include:

  • Central Sleep Apnea

    If your child’s breathing stops and starts over and over during sleep, they may have central sleep apnea. In infants, these pauses in breathing can last up to 20 seconds.

    Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a blocked airway, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t tell your child’s muscles to breathe.

    Treating central sleep apnea may involve:

    • Nasal cannula
    • Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
    • Nasal bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP)
  • Craniofacial Anomalies

    Children with craniofacial anomalies — abnormally shaped head or facial features — sometimes have more difficulty breathing during sleep. Treatment may include wearing continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) during sleep, which can keep the airway open.
  • Narcolepsy

    If your child has narcolepsy, their brain has trouble controlling the sleep-wake cycle. This can make them feel tired all the time. Narcolepsy is caused by a lack of sleep hormone-producing cells in your child’s central nervous system. Because it is a lifelong condition, narcolepsy is typically treated using a combination of medication and lifestyle modifications, such as regularly scheduled naps.
  • Obesity

    Body weight can affect your child’s sleep, too. Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are linked to obesity. Obesity can weaken the muscles in the upper airway — or even change their structure — which can cause the airway to become blocked off during sleep. Identifying obesity-related sleep disorders is an important part of helping your child regain their health.

    Learn more about Children’s Weight and Wellness program.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    If your child has sleep apnea, their airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep, which can make them stop breathing while asleep. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can include:
    • Airway surgery performed by air nose control specialist
    • Medication management: nasal steroid
    • Treatment for allergy
    • Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
    • Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss
  • Periodic Limb Movements

    Periodic limb movements are involuntary movements, usually in your child’s legs, that repeat during sleep, typically every 20 to 40 seconds. These movements may wake your child up during the night, causing them to feel tired during the day. Treatments for Periodic Limb Movements include:
    • Optimal iron level
    • Medication to help decrease leg movements during sleep

Behavioral Sleep Disorders Clinic

Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) is an expanding area of the sleep field focusing on the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of sleep disturbance. The clinic is directed by Brett R. Kuhn, Ph.D., the state’s only psychologist certified in behavioral sleep medicine who dedicates his entire practice to children and adolescents.

Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) addresses behavioral, psychological, and physiological factors that interfere with sleep. BSM providers also work with medical providers to help patient’s tolerate medical therapies such as continuous positive airway pressure therapy for sleep apnea.

The Children’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic uses both research-based and individualized treatment protocols. A specific treatment program will be adapted to each child’s particular sleep problem and family situation. With patient adherence, most childhood sleep disturbances can be resolved quickly through outpatient care and without medication.

Some of the conditions we treat at the Behavioral Sleep Disorders Clinic include:

  • Adolescent sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Bedtime resistance
  • Bed wetting over 6 years of age
  • Difficulty falling asleep alone
  • Insomnia
  • Medical regimen adherence (such as CPAP)
  • Nighttime awakenings
  • Nighttime fears / fear of the dark
  • Parasomnias
    • Sleep related head banging, body rocking, body-rolling
    • Sleep terrors
    • Sleep walking
    • Nightmares
  • Poor sleep habits / sleep hygiene
  • Sleep schedule problems (delayed/advanced sleep phase)
  • Undesirable co-sleeping or bed-sharing

Does Your Child Need A Sleep Study?

If your child goes to one of our sleep clinics and the sleep specialist feels that further evaluation is necessary to best diagnose and treat your child’s sleep disorder, they will send your child to our sleep lab for an overnight sleep study.

During a sleep study, your child will spend the night in our lab. While sleeping, we will place sensors on your child’s scalp and face to monitor:

  • Heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Breathing patterns
  • Leg movements
  • Blood-oxygen levels during sleep
  • General behavior during sleep periods (captured on video camera)
  • Sleep position
  • Hours slept
  • Snoring (captured on a snore microphone)
  • Brain activity and stages of sleep
  • Exhaled carbon dioxide levels

Here are several things to know before your child’s sleep study:

  • Have your child freshly showered with clean hair
  • Pajamas with a top and bottom are preferable
  • Feel free to bring a pillow and/or blanket from home, as well as any other items that may comfort your child
  • It takes about 45 minutes for us to set your child up for a sleep study, which we try to do as close to bedtime as possible
  • Sleep studies are typically painless unless a blood draw is needed

Our Specialists

Casey J. Burg

Sleep Medicine
Asthma Center
Pulmonary Medicine

Matthew B. Dennis

Pulmonary Medicine
Asthma Center
Sleep Medicine

Gordon Gray Still

Sleep Medicine
Pulmonary Medicine

Brett R. Kuhn

Behavioral Sleep Medicine

Mark C. Wilson

Pulmonary Medicine
Sleep Medicine

What To Do Next

For Patients

A referral is not needed to schedule a Sleep Clinic appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 402-955-7378(REST).

A referral is needed for an appointment at the Sleep Lab. Your child’s pediatrician or a sleep disorder specialist will need to place an order for them to undergo a sleep study.

For more information, call 402-955-7378(REST).

For Referring Providers

The Physicians’ Priority Line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).

To refer a patient to our Sleep Clinic, fill out this form and fax it to 402-955-3693(DOZE).

To refer a patient for a sleep study, fill out this form and fax it to 402-955-3693(DOZE).

Learn more about referring patients.


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