Internet chats with friends, a late sports practice, a good book, a new video game, an important test the next day ... so goes the list of reasons teenagers may not get enough sleep. Patrick Heles was one of those sleepless teens - but not for any of the above reasons. Pat tried everything to get some rest, yet sleep continued to elude him.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," said Pat. "A lot of my friends didn't sleep, but they were up doing stuff. I was just lying there, staring at the ceiling."
The Heles family of Zionsville, Ind., learned to avoid the cranky teen and allow him extra time to wake in the morning. The Heleses assumed Pat was exhibiting normal teenage behavior. A conversation with family friend and Riley at IU Health Sleep Disorders Center director Dr. Deborah Givan, however, convinced the Heleses to track Pat's sleeping habits for a few weeks. After Dr. Givan saw the family's notes, she suggested Pat come to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for a sleep study. Pat is just one of nearly 23,000 children who have come to the Riley Sleep Disorders Center at IU Health for answers. Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health offers Indiana's largest and best equipped pediatric sleep center and is the only pediatric sleep lab fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The Riley at IU Health Sleep Disorders Center staff recognizes that the physical and emotional needs of children are different from adults. This is especially true in the area of sleep disorders, where an adult approach to assessment and treatment is often not appropriate or effective for children. "Handling children is much more difficult than adults. As every parent knows, they aren't always cooperative," said Dr. Givan. "Persuasion, gentleness and constant supervision are required for obtaining good studies."
Riley at IU Health Sleep Disorders Center team evaluates children ranging in age from premature newborns to 18 years old. All resources are focused on meeting children's unique needs. The entire staff of physicians, nurses and technicians specializes in pediatric care. Riley Sleep Disorders Center at IU Health has provided expert evaluations since 1984. A recent refurbishment of the testing facility offers both the latest technology and a study facility scaled to and designed especially for children.
Most important, families like the Heleses find answers at Riley at IU Health. "Just knowing there was a problem helped answer a basic parenting question: 'What can we do?' We didn't think of sleep problems as having a physical issue that would cause our child to be unable to sleep."
Today, the Heles family finds Pat a lot easier to live with. After the sleep study, Patrick had his tonsils and adenoids removed to address his sleep apnea. Now he's back to hanging with friends, going to school and competing with the show choir…but this time, well-rested. "I love being able to sleep at night," said Pat.