Nicky and Alvin MineartNicky is more awake and alert during the day now.” – Alvin Mineart, Father

Nicky Mineart is no stranger to the staff at the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Sleep Center at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH). The 19-year-old has had 10 sleep studies here throughout the years for sleep and breathing issues, including snoring, restless sleep, and daytime sleepiness. 

The Sleep Center offers comprehensive evaluation and care for children like Nicky with sleep-disordered breathing. These include issues with snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep-related respiratory failure, and conditions that increase the risk of sleep-disordered breathing such as obesity or Down syndrome.

During Nicky’s first study, he was a little unsure about the new experience. He worried about the different leads and wires that staff apply to measure his breathing throughout the night. But his father, Alvin Mineart, says the staff did everything they could to make him feel comfortable and relaxed. They let him touch the wires and connect the leads himself so he wasn’t afraid. “They kept him involved in the process,” he says.

The Center has a five-bed, state-of-the-art sleep laboratory with highly trained technicians and child-friendly rooms. Each room contains a second bed, where caregivers or parents like Alvin can spend the night with their child.

“I was in the bed laying right next to him,” Alvin says, “so Nicky knew if he woke up he would see me right there, and he could reach out and hold my hand if he felt nervous.” They brought in Nicky’s favorite DVDs to watch during the hook-up process, too.

Thanks to the sleep studies, the Minearts learned that Nicky had moderate sleep apnea—he would stop breathing throughout the night. MWPH sent the study results to Nicky’s Johns Hopkins sleep doctors. While most children with sleep apnea are treated by removing their tonsils and adenoids, some, like Nicky, require a CPAP or BiPAP machine. These machines blow air through the nose to help keep the airway open and stop snoring and apnea. As Nicky grew and his breathing changed, he returned to MWPH for additional studies so that his machine could be adjusted.

Before his sleep studies and treatment, Nicky would fall asleep during school. Now, “Nicky is more awake and alert during the day,” Alvin says. He uses his sleep masks full-time throughout the night, and the Minearts feel assured knowing Nicky is healthier and happier with a good night’s sleep.

“Without MWPH’s sleep center, I believe that Nicky would not be as active as he is right now, or as healthy,” Alvin says. “He would have a lot more restless sleep. I believe it would affect his overall development and attention during the day, too.”

For parents of children coming in for their first sleep study, Alvin recommends thinking of the experience as if you’re taking a trip and staying at a hotel overnight—bring a change of clothes, some snacks, and activities or movies.

“It’s different and they’re not used to leads or wires attached, but bringing some of their favorite things to do helps them through the night,” he says. “They’re in a new place, and it’s nighttime and it’s unusual. Let them know you’re going to be there beside them, and they can reach out and touch your hand if they need you.”

To schedule an evaluation by our sleep specialists, please call 410-955-2035 and ask to make an appointment in the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Sleep Center at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.