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Paediatric Sleep deprived EEG

What is a Sleep Deprived EEG? 

EEG is the abbreviation of electroencephalogram, which is the recording of electrical activity produced by the brain.  It can help the doctor to make a diagnosis.   A sleep EEG is done to enable more information to be obtained than would from a routine EEG, as brainwave patterns change during sleep and tiredness.

How is it performed?

The appointment will take approximately two hours.  The physiologist will measure your child's head.  A minimum of 23 leads are then attached to the scalp, next to the eyes, on the shoulders and under the chin using a sticky paste.  Once the leads are in place a bandage will be wrapped around your child's head to secure the discs.  It will take approximately 20-25 minutes to attach the leads.  Your child will not feel anything whilst the EEG is being recorded.  A digital video recording will be made during the test to enable the doctor to compare your child's brainwaves with his/her movements and behaviour at the time.  The recording takes up to 60 minutes.  The light will be dimmed and your child will be asked to lie down on a bed.  Very young children will be able to stay on the knee of a parent.

How do I prepare for the test?

Your child needs to be sleepy for the test, so we ask that the night before the test your child only has HALF THE USUSAL AMOUNT OF SLEEP.  For example if he/she normally sleeps for 12 hours, this should be reduced to 6 hours sleep if possible.  This is probably best achieved by keeping to the normal bed time and getting your child up early so he/she has been awake for a number of hours before the appointment.

Please ensure your child's hair is clean and free from hairspray and oil.

Please ensure your child is wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothes.

It is helpful if your child has a good meal prior to the test.

If your child is taking medication please continue to give it to them and bring a list of the medication with you.

Your child may eat normally prior to the test.

There are no side effects from the test.

Please do not allow your child to have a drink containing caffeine on the day of the test.  This includes cola, tea and coffee and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull.

What should I bring to the appointment?

If your child likes a drink of milk or a dummy when going to sleep, please bring these with you. 

It would be helpful to bring along any other items you think might encourage your child to sleep, such as a special blanket, cuddly toy or perhaps a favourite night time story book.  We have a cd player, so if your child listens to a particular bedtime cd you can bring that along too.

It is very important that you try to keep your child awake on your way to the hospital.

Are there any risks?

On rare occasions sleep deprivation can make some people‚Äôs attacks more frequent. 


If you have any questions regarding sleep deprivation, please speak to the doctor who referred your child for the test.

How long will I have to wait?

You have been given a specific appointment time and patients are usually seen on time.  It is important that you arrive on time.  Please allow plenty of time for parking.

When will I get the results?

The results are sent to the doctor that referred you for the test and are usually available within seven days.

If you have any concerns or questions please speak to a Clinical Physiologist on the number below.


Neurophysiology Department   01422 222976