The Sleep Disorder Center at Jones Memorial Hospital
- Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night?
- Do you wake up frequently during the night—or too early in the morning—and have a hard time going back to sleep?
- When you wake up, do you feel groggy and lethargic?
- Do you feel drowsy during the day, particularly during monotonous situations?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you may have a sleep deficiency.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association 70 percent of American adults experience sleep problems. Few have been diagnosed and most people don’t recognize the importance of adequate rest to good health. Early detection of a sleep disorder could reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, asthma, pregnancy complications, memory loss and many other medical problems.
A sleep disorder can lead to more than just drowsiness. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, anger and depression, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, impaired ability to drive and suppression of the immune system, meaning more colds and flu. Other symptoms include repeated snoring interrupted by periods of silence, gasping or choking during sleep, restless sleep, falling asleep at in appropriate times, loss of energy and fatigue.
Diagnosing Sleep Disorders
Recent studies indicate that nearly 70 million Americans suffer from one of the four most common sleep disorders:
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Snoring: Disrupts sleep and may be a warning that the sleeper is a victim of sleep apnea
- Sleep Apnea: Can be a serious and life-threatening interruption in breathing during sleep which may occur hundreds of times during the night, often for a second or two at a time
- Restless Legs Syndrome: A pulling, itching, creeping or tingling painful sensation in the legs at night
A Diagnostic Sleep Study may be the first step in identifying your sleep issues. At the Sleep Center at Jones Memorial Hospital, all studies are performed by a Sleep Technologist. The Sleep Center was designed to recreate a home-like atmosphere as much as possible. Although the patient will have approximately 20 wires and probes attached to his or her body, the patient will be able to sleep in any position and move throughout the night.
A Word About Sleep Apnea
Far more common than generally considered, sleep apnea is a serious condition that robs its victims of restful sleep and may cause considerable health problems. As the soft tissues and muscles in and around the throat relax, the airway becomes narrower, which causes snoring and breathing difficulties. If these muscles relax too much, the airway can become completely blocked, preventing breathing. After a short period of time—ten seconds to two minutes—the brain realizes there is a lack of oxygen and alerts the body to wake up. This process can occur hundreds of times during the night, and the person is not even aware of it. In the past, sleep apnea was treated surgically with a tracheostomy.
While weight loss, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol are all recommended, these are the most common treatments:
- Oral Appliances: For Simple Snoring & Mild OSA non surgical treatments for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances reposition the lower jaw and the tongue permitting the airway to remain open, and reducing or eliminating apneic events. They vary in design, but all have the same purpose: To assist in maintaining an open airway for the individual while they sleep.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy delivers lightly pressurized air through a small nose mask while you sleep. The flow of air acts like an air splint to keep the upper airway open and prevent snoring and apneas. Most people experience almost immediate and total relief with CPAP treatment.
- UPPP (Uvulo-Palato-Pharyngo-Plasty) is a surgical procedure used to remove excess tissue at the back of the throat (tonsils, uvula, and part of the soft palate).
- LAUP (Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty) vaporizes the uvula and a part of the palate in a series of small procedures under local anesthesia.
For more information about sleep disorders and the Sleep Center at Jones Memorial Hospital, talk to your healthcare provider or call (585) 596-4025.