Sleep is essential to your health and well-being. And getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life — even your safety.
If you have trouble falling asleep, staying awake or sleeping through the night, or have episodes of prolonged loud snoring, or unusual behavior during sleep, you may be among the one-third of Americans with a sleep disorder. If left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to chronic fatigue, and affect how well you think, react, work, learn and get along with others. Some sleep problems (such as sleep apnea) can lead to life-threatening health issues, such as heart attack or stroke.
Memorial Satilla Health Sleep Medicine department is accredited with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The 6-bed Sleep Lab is under the direction of Dr. Dinesh Nayak who is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine. The Sleep Lab employs five registered polysomnographic sleep technologists who are skilled performing Polysomnographic Sleep Studies, Titration of Positive Pressure Therapy, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, Maintenance of Wakefulness Test and Home Sleep Apnea Tests. The Sleep Lab Technologists utilize the Inter-Scorer Reliability for scoring studies.
Sleep disorders are treatable. At Memorial Satilla Health, we can help you find the root cause of your sleep issues and provide personalized treatment plans to help you get the sleep you need. You may contact the Sleep Lab to obtain a sleep disorder questionnaire to complete and take to your doctor. If your doctor determines that you may benefit from a sleep study, his or her office staff will schedule an appointment for you.
For milder cases of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend only lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. If these measures don’t improve your signs and symptoms or if your apnea is moderate to severe, a number of other treatments are available. Certain devices can help open up a blocked airway. In other cases, surgery may be necessary.
Common Sleep Disorders
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax, and Central sleep apnea, occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Attention problems
For sleep apnea, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a useful tool. It is a small device that keeps the airway open by continuously pushing air through a mask while you sleep. Sleeping with the mask may take some getting used to, but eliminating snoring and the "awakenings" will allow you to get a good night’s sleep. Most patients feel better and are less tired during the day after their first night with the CPAP machine.
Insomnia is a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or both. With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. is a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or both. With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine. is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable, typically in the evenings while you’re sitting or lying down. RLS can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep and make traveling difficult. is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable, typically in the evenings while you’re sitting or lying down. RLS can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep and make traveling difficult.
Having a Sleep Study
A Nocturnal Polysomnogram, or sleep study, is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that there are no needles involved and it is painless. During a sleep study, you’re connected to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
Your overnight stay will take place in a private, comfortable room. In order to monitor your sleep patterns, breathing, and oxygen levels, a technician will attach sensors, also called electrodes, to your head, chin, throat, chest, abdomen, and legs to monitor your sleep from another room. State-of-the-art monitors record your reaction to sleep, including:
- Brain waves
- Eye movements
- Heart rate
- Muscle activity
- Oxygen level
On the day of your sleep study, you should not consume any caffeinated products such as chocolate, colas, tea or coffee after 10:00am. If you are sleepy during the day, please stay active. Do not take any naps.
You may shower before you arrive at the Sleep Lab, but do not apply body lotion or hair spray after you shower. Please bring shorts and a loose fitting shirt to sleep in, as well as clothing needed for the following day.