Sleep deprived EEG - Child (no sedation)

Sleep EEG (Electro-encephalogram) - CHILD

What is an EEG examination?

A sleep EEG (electro-encephalogram) is the recording of electrical activity produced by the brain whilst you sleep.  It will help your doctor in making a diagnosis.  A sleep EEG is useful as it obtains different information to the routine EEG, as brainwave patterns change during sleep.  The appointment takes approximately two hours, and the results will be sent to the referring GP/clinician and are usually available within seven days.


How is the test performed?

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 all 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 to 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 lights 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.  


We will need to obtain verbal consent for these procedures, and this can only be given by a person with parental responsibility.  If you are unsure whether the person bringing your child can give consent, please check with the doctor who has referred your child or call the department on 01422 222976 for advice.


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 USUAL 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 bedtime 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 oils, and wears loose fitting, comfortable clothing. 

If your child is taking any medication, please continue to take as normal, and bring a list of the medication with you.  Your child may continue to eat meals as normal, although it is helpful if your child does have a good meal prior to the test.

It is helpful, where possible, to attend with someone who has witnessed any seizures or clinical events under investigation in order to gain a good description of them.

Please do not allow your child to have any drinks that contain caffeine, e.g. coffee, tea and cola, or stimulant drinks on the day of their test.

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 bedtime story book.


Are there any risks?

For some people sleep deprivation can increase the possibility of you having an attack.  If you have any questions regarding sleep deprivation, please contact the department and request a conversation with a physiologist.

We recommend you do not leave your child unattended whilst taking a bath as they may still be drowsy.