Center for Excellence in Pulmonary Biology

Sleep Disorders

Many children experience sleep disorders. These range from night terrors and sleepwalking to serious breathing disorders during sleep. A few of the breathing disorders known to affect children and their sleep are listed here. Effective treatments are available for some, whereas the cause and cure for others remain unknown.

  1. Sleep Apneas- The Symptoms for this disorder include periodic interruption of breathing, characterized by loud, interrupted snoring. Sleep apnea is caused by the excessive relaxation of airway, a procedure called CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure. In mild cases, weight loss and preventing sufferers from sleeping on their backs can help.
  2. Insomnia- This is even more common than sleep apnea. One syndrome that is known to produce a profound insomnia is "restless legs with periodic movement during sleep." "Restless legs" refers to an urge to move the legs that increases during quiescence. Periodic movement during sleep, a frequent accompaniment of restless legs, is a regular twitching, usually occurring every 5-90 seconds in the legs during non-REM sleep and can also disturb sleep.
  3. Parasomnias- Night terrors, in which children scream during the night, sleep walking and bedwetting are some of the most common and are generally outgrown with age. Parasomnias include bruxism, a grinding of the teeth that can be treated by wearing a dental device.
  4. REM sleep behavior disorder- This disorder is characterized by vigorous movements occurring during REM sleep as the dreamer acts out his or her dream. The patients and those sharing the bed can be injured. Effective drug treatments, often sitn the benzodiazepine clonazepam, are available.
  5. Narcolepsy- This disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle tone while awake, called cataplexy. The cause of most human narcolepsy has been identified as a loss of a chemical called hypocretin.

Our sleep specialist Dr. Nanci Yuan is board certified in both Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Yuan along with a certified sleep technician, provides a careful and detailed medical evaluation of your child, to find the source of the sleep problem. Sensors are used to monitor how your body acts while you sleep. Charts are made of many physical measurements, including your brain waves, heartbeats and breathing. Your sleep study provides Dr. Yuan with the data she needs to find the cause of your child's sleep problem. Some the available sleep study option are listed below:

To schedule a sleep study please contact:


Fax: 650-725-4884                

General Information

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