Behavior sleep medicine is the branch of clinical sleep medicine and health psychology that:

  • Focuses on identifying the psychological factors that contribute to the development or maintenance of sleep disorders
  • Specializes in developing nonpharmacologic / nonsurgical treatments for the broad spectrum of sleep disorders.

Both healthy children and children with medical conditions may develop problems with falling asleep and sleeping through the night that are due to behavioral  or psychological causes or both.  In some cases, children are prescribed medical treatments for a sleep disorder (e.g., continuous positive airway pressure for treating obstructive sleep apnea) that are difficult for the child to tolerate.  Behavior sleep medicine can offer help in such situations.  Many children referred to the Sleep Disorders Center at Cincinnati Children’s  are provided clinical services through the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic.  Some of the more common sleep problems evaluated and treated in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic include:

  • Bedtime problems in infants, toddlers and preschoolers
  • Adolescent sleep problems (delayed sleep phase syndrome)
  • Bedtime fears
  • Bedtime refusal
  • Difficulty falling asleep alone
  • Nightmares
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Sleep onset association disorder
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleep walking 

Each of these common sleep difficulties may result in daytime behavioral problems (crankiness, tiredness, irritability, hyperactivity) if a child’s sleep is inadequate or disrupted. Visit our glossary page to get definitions for various sleep problems and terminology.

The Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic is directed by Kelly Byars, PsyD, who is a pediatric behavioral psychologist with specialized training in pediatric sleep disorders.  Byars works with families to understand the reasons for their child’s sleep disorder and to improve the quality of their child’s sleep.


A typical evaluation explores the developmental, behavioral and social history of the child, focusing on the child’s sleep environment and the behavioral, social and emotional factors that may contribute to sleep problems.

Recommendations are tailored to address the specific sleep problems of your child. Behavioral treatment for childhood sleep problems is usually short-term.

Clinic Location

The Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic is held weekly on the main campus of Cincinnati Children’s, on the fifth floor of Location C (Outpatient Services Building). Get directions.

Contact Us

To make a referral or schedule an appointment in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic, contact us.