Valley Medical Group News

Behavioral Sleep Coaching Can Help Both You and Your Child get a Good Night’s

New Service Available at Valley’s Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center  

The Valley Hospital is pleased to announce that the Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center is expanding its services to now offer Behavioral Sleep Coaching for children, from newborns to teens. The new service offers effective treatment for the psychosocial, psychological and environmental factors that commonly interfere with sleep.

“Sleep coaching utilizes proven approaches to build healthy sleep habits so that children can get a better night’s sleep,” said Stephanie Zandieh, M.D., M.S., Director of Pediatric Sleep Medicine at Valley. “Whether we are helping a child overcome his fear of the dark or teaching a toddler to fall asleep without her parent in the room, we work collaboratively with patients and their families to develop treatment plans that are uniquely suited to each child’s specific needs.”

Studies show that as many as 25 to 40 percent of children experience sleep difficulties such as stalling or protesting at bedtime, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or nighttime fears. If left untreated, these sleep problems can become chronic and lead to difficulties with learning, memory and concentration, declining academic performance, impulsivity/hyperactivity and poor emotional control. A child’s sleep problems can also disrupt the family and create negative parent-child dynamics.

“Proper sleep is essential to every child’s growth and development,” said Kim Cahill, R.N., M.S.N., A.P.N., CPNP-PC, who leads the Behavioral Sleep Coaching program. “Through face-to-face meetings and regular follow-up, we identify and eliminate the roadblocks that interfere with quality sleep, so that a child can feel great, have fun, learn more and perform his or her best.”

Fortunately, many sleep problems can be resolved through Behavioral Sleep Coaching. The underlying principle of the approach is that healthy sleep is a learned behavior. Valley’s experienced and knowledgeable team works with patients and their families to systematically introduce behavioral change, such as developing a consistent sleep schedule and a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Families are involved at every step of care to help children attain the foundations of good sleep for the rest of their lives. Although each plan of care is unique, treatment can generally be completed in two to four sessions.

Dr. Zandieh and Ms. Cahill work collaboratively to accurately diagnose and treat sleep disorders. During an initial consultation, they will meet with patients and their families to obtain a complete medical and sleep history and perform a physical exam. If there are medical symptoms, such as snoring, increased body movements during sleep or excessive daytime sleepiness that are contributing to a child’s sleep problems, the child may first need specific medical treatment.

Dr. Zandieh is board-certified in sleep medicine, pediatric pulmonology, and pediatrics. As a pediatric sleep medicine specialist for more than 18 years, she has been devoted to providing comprehensive care to children from infancy to young adulthood.

Ms. Cahill has 17 years of experience in pediatric sleep medicine and is licensed through the New Jersey Board of Nursing and certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), meeting the highest national standards for the care of pediatric patients.

Patients may be referred to the Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center by their pediatricians, other physicians, or parents may call directly to make an appointment. The Center is credentialed with most major insurance companies and sleep coaching services are generally covered by insurance. Please contact the Center for a list of participating insurance plans.

For more information about The Valley Hospital Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center visit  To make an appointment at the Center, please call 201-447-8152.