By Lim Hui Chieh, Mind your body, 16 Dec 2010
It can be due to blocked airways or behavioural problems; doctors report more parents seeking help for their children
Parents are becoming proactive about getting treatment for their children when they do not sleep well. They now seek help for behavior traditionally seen as “normal”, like not sleeping unless they are rocked. As a result, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital now does 350 to 400 sleep studies a year, up from about 150 a decade ago, said Dr Teoh Oon Hoe, who heads its respiratory medicine service.
In a sleep study, patients are hooked to monitoring equipment as they sleep through the night and checked for the number of times they stop breathing. The National University Hospital, the other public facility here that treats paediatric sleep disorders, has seen about 260 children up to last month this year. Of them, about 160 needed a sleep study, said Dr Mahesh Babu Ramamurthy, senior consultant in its division of paediatric pulmonary, sleep and critical care.
With the number seeking help on the rise, the first private sleep laboratory for children was set up in August this year. It is a partnership between the Parkway-owned Gleneagles Medical Centre and private paediatric care chain SBCC Baby & Child Clinic. It sees two to three children with sleep disorders each week, when it used to see very few, said its sleep specialist, Dr Jenny Tang.