If You Have Trouble Sleeping, Rest Assured That Help Is Here
You wake up in the morning exhausted. You get sleepy—even fall asleep— while driving, reading or watching TV. You may also snore, have a hard time falling asleep at night or wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall asleep again.
If this sounds familiar, you might have a sleep disorder, and feeling tired isn’t the only concern. A sleep disorder can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and weight gain.
Experts from the Sleep Disorders Centers at Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist Hospitals explain when it might be time to talk to a doctor.
How can you tell if i have a sleep disorder?
We perform a sleep study, a series of tests conducted while you sleep. This generally involves spending the night in a sleep lab, which is basically a private room in a sleep study center. Sleep studies diagnose sleep disorders, including:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, when someone snores heavily or stops breathing in the middle of the night.
- Insomnia, which is chronic difficulty falling and staying asleep.
- Periodic limb movements in sleep, which is uncontrollable twitching or jerking of the legs.
What are you looking for during a sleep study?
When a person participates in a sleep study at the Sleep Disorders Centers at Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist Hospitals, a qualified sleep technologist uses the latest equipment to monitor brain waves, breathing and heartbeat during sleep. All of this helps to determine whether a sleep disorder exists. In the morning, a board-certified sleep specialist and a neurologist will review the study and share the diagnosis with the person’s referring doctor within two or three days.
What can a person expect during a sleep study?
While a sleep test is conducted in a highly technical lab, the setting feels more like a bedroom where a person sleeps in a bed in a private room. The person is connected to sensors on his or her head, chest and finger to monitor sleep patterns. Although this may sound invasive, most people are surprised to learn they sleep well through the test.
People who undergo sleep studies at Shady Grove Adventist or Washington Adventist Hospital have the added benefit of being in a hospital setting, which means 24-hour access to emergency services, security and flexible scheduling. Many people who have sleep problems also have other serious health concerns, including hypertension, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary disease. The Sleep Centers at Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist Hospitals also provide on-the-spot professional fitting for a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for people identified to have sleep apnea during their studies. This provides immediate treatment for the condition.
I think I might need a sleep study. How do I enroll?
You can download an enrollment form at www.shadygroveadventisthospital.com/sleep or www.washingtonadventisthospital.com/sleep and take it to your primary care physician for discussion. If it’s determined that you could benefit from sleep monitoring, the doctor can use the form to refer you to one of our Sleep Disorders Centers. Sleep studies are available for adults and children ages 5 and older.