Behavioural Sleep Medicine (BSM) is a non-drug, evidence based, patient-centred program which addresses the most impactful behavioural, psychological, and physiological factors that interfere with your child’s sleep. Our Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialists (BSMS) work with our team of sleep physicians and respiratory technologists to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the diagnosis, management, and treatment of sleep problems in children ages 18 years and under.

Pediatric Behavioural Sleep Medicine is an effective treatment for:

Insomnia | Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) | Restless leg syndrome (RLS) | Sleep terrors/nightmares| Sleep walking | Bed wetting | Hypersomnia/narcolepsy | Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Get your child the help they need

Please ask your family doctor/pediatrician to complete the referral form. At this time, only patients with referrals from licensed physicians can be accepted.

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Why Seek Help?

A sleep disorder might cause problems that can affect your child’s mental, emotional, and physical well being. If present throughout childhood and into adulthood, sleep disorders are associated with risks of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack.

Signs and symptoms of childhood sleep disorders

Snoring | Restless sleep | Insomnia | Bed wetting | Difficulty waking up in the morning and/or daytime sleepiness | Daytime inattention and/or learning problems | Depression and/or anxiety | Chronic headaches

About the Program

Our program consists of two to six, 30-minute sessions with a BSMS and it is covered by Alberta Health and Wellness, at no cost to the patient. We help your child attain success and confidence in managing their sleep, so they can focus on living a full life and enjoy restful sleep! Read about the components below.

Program components

CBT-I is the most effective first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. It is also helpful for nightmares and difficulty tolerating CPAP therapy. CBT-I is an excellent option for patients seeking a non-drug treatment for their sleep problems, and for those who wish to taper off or reduce their sleep medication. The most effective approach may combine several methods, including:

  • Stimulus control therapy
    • We use specific techniques to reduce the arousal that stops you from having a deep and restful sleep. 
  • Sleep restriction
    • We use individualized strategies to improve the quality of your sleep and then increase the amount of good quality sleep that you can achieve. 
  • Sleep hygiene 
    • We coach you to develop and implement lifestyle changes that create a stable sleep routine using nutrition, physical activity, natural light exposure and other lifestyle and behavioural strategies. 
  • Relaxation training
    • We have a range of proven methods for helping people relax and gain the health benefits of relaxation.
  • Cognitive control and psychotherapy
    • We provide you with effective methods of managing your stress and worries to reduce the effect of anxiety on your sleep, rest, and recovery. 

This practice helps you reduce anxiety, increase body awareness, and to live more fully in the present moment. Our mindfulness practice is built on 3 components:

Chronotherapy

  • This therapy considers your body’s rhythms or “biological clock” and aims to align bedtime, rise time and routines with your natural clock to support your sleep and daytime function.

Circadian entrainment

  • This therapy helps you synchronize your internal biological clock to external time cues so that you can adapt to a certain work or school schedule.

Bright light therapy

  • Light exposure is the strongest environmental cue to our master clock which affects our “other body clocks” that control body temperature, alertness, appetite, digestion, mood, sleep, and hormones. Light therapy is used to treat circadian rhythm disorders, jet lag and seasonal affective disorder.

The fears and negative emotions associated with bad dreams are treated by a technique called Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT-N). This process helps identify, confront, and gain control over the content of the nightmare.  Children, teenagers, adults, and older individuals can benefit from this technique. 

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