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first children's sleep center in Estonia.

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Sleep Research Centre

Tallinn Children’s Hospital Foundation launched a charity campaign “Donate deep sleep“ in order to establish the first sleep research center for children in Estonia.

The sleep center will serve the purpose of offering contemporary solutions to children suffering from sleep disorders and providing information, consultation and support to their parents. Children from newborn babies to 18-years old youngsters will be treated at the center.

Around a quarter of the population, including children, may be suffering from sleep disorders during different periods of life. People often do not realize that good night sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being. Sleeping disorders may have different origins, either medical or caused by the concurrence of the person’s behavior and psyche.

When a child has sleeping problems, it affects the whole family, bringing about tiredness and tension. Irrespective of the reasons, insufficient night sleep influences daily behavior, feelings, studying and social accomplishments. Undiagnosed and / or untreated cases increase the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases.

There is currently no sleep research center specifically for children in Estonia, but there is a great need for it. Dealing with sleep disorders requires a systematic approach, as the causes of the problems are various. A sleep center in a large hospital allows to involve the necessary experts to help find solutions to children's sleep problems.

Sleep medicine is becoming a separate medical specialty all over the world, it is promoted in Estonia by specialists who are members of the Estonian Sleep Medicine Society. From a medical point of view, sleep disorders have not been given enough importance and their treatment has been rather non-systematic. Despite several requests, sleep research is funded in very narrow aspects, so that most people in need are currently left unexamined. We believe that there is great necessity for the establishment of a medical sleep center specifically for children. The neurologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians at the Tallinn Children’s Hospital are willing to establish a multiprofessional and sustainable medical sleep center in a relatively short time.

A polysomnographic device with special software will be purchased. It allows to distinguish between relatively safe and temporary sleep disorders (parasomnias, sleep disturbances) with more serious causes, such as sleep apnea, epileptic seizures, narcolepsy, etc, which require serious intervention. During  polysomnographic  examination, a child's night sleep is recorded for at least eight hours. Brain activity, respiratory rhythm and its disorders, muscle activity and movement disorders, heart rate, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are recorded . Video and audio recordings provide additional information about the patient’s sleep.

 

The project includes establishing soundproof rooms, which allow to carry out specific medical examinations, but at the same time be very cozy so that the child who spends the night sleeping in these rooms will feel comfortable and safe. The interior of the rooms will be designed by the students of the Department of Interior Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts, whose supervisor is prof. Tüüne Kristin Vaikla.

The medical staff, who will start working at the sleep center must undergo specific training. As there are only a few specialists in the respective field in Estonia, most of the staff trainings are going to take place at sleep research centers abroad. The staff of the sleep center must include a specially trained sleep nurse / sleep technician, and a clinical neurophysiologist, who is responsible for the analysis and diagnostic evaluation of the examination. The need for further examinations and treatment of the patient is decided by specialists in sleep medicine: neurologist, psychiatrist, otolaryngologist, pulmonologist. In addition, the team will include a psychologist, speech therapist and physiotherapist.

The estimated cost of the establishment of the sleep research center is approximately 200,000 euros.