The Cincinnati Children's Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic helps children and adolescents who have physical, behavioral, and/or psychological issues that make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

Children who come to this clinic meet with pediatric psychologists who specialize in sleep disorders. Our clinic is the only pediatric program in the region that has two board-certified behavioral sleep medicine specialists. These experts provide complete evaluation and treatment for problems like bedtime refusal, sleep terrors and poor sleep habits.

At Cincinnati Children's, we offer:

  • Personalized treatment plans tailored to your child's specific needs
  • Collaboration with other sleep medicine specialists in our Sleep Center if needed, which helps us provide more comprehensive treatment for your child
  • Simplified and coordinated care, so you don't have to worry about managing appointments and specialist schedules

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Conditions We Treat

Many kids have problems falling asleep and sleeping through the night. Sometimes medical conditions can cause these problems. But, healthy children can also have behavioral sleep issues.

The Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic helps kids of all ages who may have:

  • Bedtime fears
  • Bedtime refusal
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome (a delayed body clock for sleep)
  • Difficulty falling asleep alone
  • Nightmares
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Difficulty with the body and/or brain settling down at night to fall asleep and return to sleep
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleep walking

When children have these sleep problems, they can experience disrupted sleep or insomnia. Without proper rest, kids can also develop daytime challenges, such as:

  • Crankiness or irritability
  • Sleepiness
  • Hyperactivity or issues with paying attention

Our clinic can also help children who have trouble with medical treatments for sleep disorders. These treatments can include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP™). We can work with these kids to make sure they get used to the device and stick with treatment. 

Our team also helps children with narcolepsy or other sleepiness disorders. We can help kids cope with the diagnosis and manage sleep and medicine recommendations. 

Our Treatment Approach

We take a personalized approach to every patient. Our team will create a treatment plan that's tailored to your child's unique needs.

At the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic, you and your child will meet with a psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine. During the evaluation, we'll look at how your child's environment, development or physical factors may affect sleep.

Your child's treatment may focus on behavior changes. We may also recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

A psychologist uses CBT to help your child develop environmental, behavioral and mental tools that help with sleep. This process may include talking about emotions or worries around sleep, which can help change behaviors that interfere with sleep.

What to Expect

If your child has a sleep problem, your pediatrician can refer you to our Sleep Center for treatment. You can also contact our Sleep Center for a referral.

Once you're referred to the Sleep Center, we'll ask you to fill out an online questionnaire. This form will help us understand your child's health history and symptoms, so we know which specialists are best suited to treat your child.

If your child may benefit from our Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic, we'll send a second online survey. This survey will allow you to give more detailed information about your child's sleep and how it affects his or her behavior. Our team will use this information to prepare for your evaluation.

We'll also ask you to complete a sleep diary before you come to the clinic. The sleep diary will help us assess your child's:

  • Sleep patterns
  • Timing of sleep
  • Total amount of sleep

During your first visit, you'll meet with a pediatric psychologist who is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine. This first visit is usually 60-90 minutes. We'll review your questionnaire answers and sleep diary and ask about your child's sleep history. Using this information, we'll pinpoint what's causing or worsening your child's sleep problems. Then, we’ll develop a customized treatment plan.

In some cases, the treatment plan we come up with during your first visit is enough to fix your child's sleep problems. However, we recommend follow-up appointments with our team until the sleep problem improves or stops. How often you come in for follow-up appointments will depend on your child's specific needs.

We'll make sure you receive comprehensive, coordinated care throughout your child’s treatment. If your child needs to see other specialists at the Sleep Center, our team will communicate with them about any behavioral sleep medicine treatment.

If another doctor or pediatrician referred you to the center, our team will communicate with them throughout the process. This will help make sure your home doctor can stay informed about your child's progress and help manage any follow-up care, if needed.

If your family is traveling from out of town, we also provide concierge services and other resources.

Locations and Directions

Burnet Campus

Meet the Team

This clinic features pediatric psychologists who are board certified in sleep medicine. Our team includes: