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Sleep Disorders and Testing

Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep at night?

Failure to get an adequate amount of sleep at night can cause more than just sleepiness. A lack of restorative sleep can cause an individual to feel physical and mental stress. It can affect your relationships, mental capability, and make you feel disengaged from the world around you.

Getting a good night of sleep is important for feeling refreshed, revitalized, and alert during the day. Sleep disorders that go untreated can be hazardous to your health. With proper testing, diagnosis and care, sleep disorders can be managed and overcome.

Certain behaviors during normal daytime activities can be a sign of sleep deprivation. Sleep Deprivation is known as a lack of restorative sleep over a certain time period.
  • Daytime Fatigue
  • Irritability or sleepiness during the day
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Delayed reactions
  • Difficulty concentrating at work, school, or home
  • Emotional outbursts

If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above you may not be getting enough restful sleep. Talk to your physician about any concerns of sleep deprivation and/or sleep disorders that could be associated.

Complete the Epworth Sleepiness Scale

Common Sleep Disorders
Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that can be very serious and sometimes life-threatening. The word apnea means a pause in breath. Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing or has shallow breathing for a period of time during sleep. An apnea typically lasts 10 to 30 seconds or more. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea are going through this holding pattern repeatedly throughout the night and don't even realize they are doing it. Apneas can occur 30 or more times an hour depending on the severity of the sleep apnea. In most cases an individual will arouse but never fully awaken.

The most common type of Sleep Apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual has repeated episodes of complete or partially blocked upper airways during sleep. During an apneic event, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway. Over time this can cause various different health risks for individuals.

Some of the most common symptoms of adults with sleep apnea include:
  • Snoring
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sudden urge to fall asleep
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is defined by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can be caused by changes in your sleep schedule, bedtime habits, or an underlying medical or psychiatric condition. If you feel that you are experiencing insomnia, please speak with your physician to determine possible treatments.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have difficulty staying awake. Narcolepsy can cause a person to suddenly fall asleep at inopportune times. These sleep episodes can occur at unusual times and can affect school, work, and social life. Some symptoms of Narcolepsy include:
  • Intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of dozing off during the daytime
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone that leads to a loss of voluntary muscle control

Restless Leg Syndrome also known as RLS is known as a neurological condition that causes an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. The urge to move the legs is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Symptoms of RLS can become more intense when you are resting. It can cause difficulty in falling and/or staying asleep. Several people with RLS have a periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS). These limb movements or jerking can occur throughout the night and can disrupt sleep. For more information on RLS, please visit www.rls.org.

If you feel that you could have one of the sleep disorders listed above you should speak with your physician. Testing and treatment options are available.

Sleep Testing
A polysomnogram is the basic sleep study completed in one night to assess possible sleep disturbances and develop recommendations for further treatment. A Polysomnogram is conducted by placing a series of electrodes on the patient and collecting data during rest times. These electrodes are not painful, but merely allow us to gather information to complete the study. 2 EKG electrodes, 4 leg electrodes, 2 respiratory belts, a snore mike, an airflow sensor and a pulse oximeter.

In some cases, the technician is able to complete the basic Polysomnogram and Titration study in one night. This is known as a Split Night.

If this is not the case the interpreting physician may recommend that the patient return for a second night study known as a Titration study.

*Please note, individuals must meet criteria established by the AASM and Medical Director to qualify for Split Night.

The Titration study is for patients who have been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea. This study allows the technician to properly evaluate the CPAP treatment to determine the appropriate airflow pressure for the patient. During a Titration study the technician will work with the individual to determine what type of CPAP mask best suits the patient.

A Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is completed by performing an evening Polysomnogram followed by a day study. A MSLT is a daytime test that consists of nap episodes to determine the quality of daytime sleepiness. A MSLT can be completed when evaluating an individual for Narcolepsy.