The Montreal Children’s Hospital on the Glen: Sweeter Dreams at the new Sleep Lab

In 1989, Dr. Robert Brouillette, Director of the Pediatric Sleep Laboratory, saw the need to create a space where children with respiratory and sleeping issues could be helped. The result was the founding of the MCH sleep lab. Twenty-three years later, the lab is thriving.
“We have outgrown our space,” says Christine McGregor, Assistant Chief Respiratory Therapist and Sleep Lab Supervisor. “We outgrew it years ago, but we’re masters at maximizing space usage.” Indeed, the sleep lab we are sitting in is full to bursting with equipment used to monitor young patients. All of the rooms in the current sleep laboratory are used 24 hours a day. At night, the rooms function as sleep bedrooms and control rooms and in the morning the same rooms need to be converted for daytime use. To help with this daily endeavour the sleep lab possesses stackable chairs, foldable tables, equipment housed on mobile carts and even a Murphy bed. “Although we are efficient space-users there is a price to pay: it takes time for our Respiratory Therapists/Sleep Lab Technicians to convert the rooms from daytime to nighttime use,” continues McGregor.
“We’re going to do our best to make sure the lab at the Glen feels as much like home as possible,” says Dr. Brouillette. While better aesthetics may appeal to children, they will have an incidence on test results as well. “We noticed that kids who are tested at home wake up less than kids who sleep in the lab--we’re still able to get viable results, but stress affects sleep--so the less there is the better.”
Both Dr. Brouillette and Christine McGregor agree that the design of the pediatric sleep lab at the Glen Site will be an improvement over their current space. “We’ll have a ‘back-of-house’ control room where we can conduct our studies; the rooms where children sleep will be at the front of the lab, so they won’t have to see all the equipment,” explains McGregor. In addition to this new set-up, the floors in the sleep rooms will be cushioned, the rooms will be sound-proofed, and each room will have independent climate control.
“There are several advantages to moving,” says Dr. Brouillette. “We’ll have a more streamlined lab for staff and better installations for patients, but we’ll also be on the same site as the adult sleep lab–we’ll be able to collaborate with colleagues more easily and share information and results.” Without doubt, this pioneering lab will continue to help children and their families breathe easier.
More about the MCH Sleep Lab
  • The MCH Sleep Lab is world-renowned and collaborates on research projects with children’s hospitals across Canada and around the globe.
  • Doctors and Respiratory Therapists try to find and treat the cause of respiratory problems kids suffer from during sleep, some causes may be: large tonsils and adenoids, obesity, neurologic, genetic or cranio-facial problems and congenital malformations.
  • Doctors and Respiratory Therapists/ Sleep Lab Technicians see patients from 0 to 18 years of age.