AAMC Sleep Lab Gives Rest to the Weary
Did you sleep well last night? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, many of us—more than 100 million Americans—have trouble getting the restful sleep we need to stay healthy.
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR A SLEEP STUDY?
Physical and emotional factors, like hormonal imbalances and stress, can affect sleep. And in addition, undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can negatively impact our health and lifestyles. Fortunately, the AAMC Sleep Lab is available to help people who have questions or concerns about their quality of sleep.
Feeling sleepy during the day, having trouble waking up, and snoring loudly may be indications of a sleep disorder, said Dr. Ira Weinstein, one of AAMC’s board-certified sleep specialists. Dr. Weinstein, along with his associate, Dr. Steven Resnick, evaluates sleep patterns and tendencies, interprets sleep studies, and diagnoses and treats sleep disorders in adults and children.
“People can take sleeping for granted, but it is not a simple process,” said Dr. Weinstein. “Many areas of the brain influence the different stages of sleep, and many environmental, physiological and emotional factors affect its quality.”
Untreated sleep disorders can damage health and reduce the quality of life for adults and children, said Dr. Weinstein. “Sleep disordered breathing can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, decreased libido and other health issues,” he said. “In children, sleep disorders can result in headaches, decreased school performance, slow growth, and even misdiagnosis of learning disabilities.”
Sleep monitored and observed
At the AAMC Sleep Lab, sleep technicians conduct polysomnograms, or sleep studies. While a patient sleeps, the polysomnogram records signals such as brain waves (EEG), heart rate and rhythm (EKG), eye movement, muscle activity, leg movements, airflow during breathing, and oxygen level in the blood. As this data is collected, technicians observe from another room, monitoring patients’ sleep throughout the night. Sleep study results help AAMC specialists identify different sleep stages, classify various sleep problems and make recommendations for treatment options.
Some of us may wonder if it’s difficult to fall asleep for sleep testing. But the Sleep Lab is designed to be warm and homelike, said Paula Wadley, director, ancillary services.
“Our six sleeping suites are like comfortable bedrooms. It’s a relaxing setting for our patients,” said Ms. Wadley. This soothing atmosphere helps technicians do the most accurate sleep studies, and having the best and most useful information helps specialists determine the most effective treatments.
AAMC treats more than 100 people per month in the Sleep Lab for conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome. Children may experience similar conditions, as well as night terrors, sleepwalking and eneuresis (bedwetting).
Some common treatments for sleep disorders include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), in which a nasal mask is used to deliver pressurized air into the nostrils. Weight loss programs, oral appliances, or surgical procedures may also be considered.
For information, please call askAAMC at 443-481-4000.