Sound Sleep Equals School Success
Steven Gregory “Greg” Wise was missing a lot of school. Absent 33 days of his fifth grade year, Greg’s parents and teachers were worried. “Every morning he would wake up and say he didn’t feel well - his head hurt, he had a stomach ache. It was a fight to get him to go to school,” said his mother, Veronica Wise of Clements, Maryland. “The school was great and worked with us, but his teachers were concerned about him missing so many days when he went to middle school.”
Greg’s mother knew he had trouble sleeping, but it wasn’t until he went to see several specialists and participated in a sleep study that she realized how badly it was affecting him. Suffering from severe allergies and constant ear infections, Greg’s mother said his breathing issues seemed to be worsening as he was getting older. His allergist referred Greg to a pediatric pulmonologist, who recommended he undergo a sleep study.
Greg’s doctors determined he had narrow airways which — coupled with his allergies — made it difficult for him to breathe. The sleep study showed he woke up continuously through the night and stopped breathing a number of times. Greg underwent surgery to remove his adenoids and reposition his ear tubes. A sleep study following his surgery showed the procedures made a big difference in his quality of sleep.
Sleep Studies Easy for Most Kids
When Greg Wise took his first sleep study with Temitayo Oyegbile, MD, PhD, director of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Sleep Lab, the results showed he stopped breathing 12-15 times an hour. “Greg’s case was severe,” said Dr. Oyegbile who is board certified in pediatric neurology and sleep medicine. “Young kids shouldn’t be waking like that. It really has a negative effect on them.”
The sleep study was an important tool in diagnosing and treating Greg’s sleep issues. Many parents may be apprehensive about pediatric sleep studies, but according to Dr. Oyegbile most children handle the experience very well. “The sleep lab is very kid-friendly. The techs are great with the kids and are trained to make the experience more comfortable for them,” said Dr. Oyegbile. “Parents get quite nervous having their kids in an unfamiliar environment overnight, but the kids typically do quite well.”
Greg is now sleeping better following surgery, but many childhood sleep issues can be resolved without surgery. “There are other interventions we can try first,” said Dr. Oyegbile. “Controlling allergies, herbal supplements and behavioral changes are all strategies to consider before surgery. Often when kids do need surgery it is a five-minute procedure – removing tonsils or adenoids. Not all surgeries are as in-depth as Greg’s.”
For more information on pediatric sleep studies with Dr. Oyegbile, call 202-243-3499 or visit MedStarStMarys.org/SleepLab for more on our state-of-the-art Sleep Lab.