Our sleep medicine services
Our experienced and highly trained doctors offer special expertise in:
- Restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder
- Sleep apnea
- Sleep hygiene / Poor sleep habits
- Sleepwalking / Somnambulism
- Wide-range of home medical equipment
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when you briefly stop breathing during sleep. This common sleep disorder contributes to many medical problems: high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. It also affects your quality of life by causing general drowsiness, irritability, lack of energy and focus. Job performance and driving safety can be greatly diminished as well.
Most people don't even realize they have sleep apnea, but you're more likely to have it if you're diabetic, overweight, have high blood pressure or have a heart rhythm disturbance called atrial fibrillation.
If your bed partner says you snore, snort, gasp, choke or stop breathing during sleep, you may have sleep apnea. A sleep study is needed to make an accurate diagnosis, but if you suspect you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.
The purpose of a sleep study
If your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, he or she may prescribe a sleep study in one of our sleep labs. You'll typically arrive at the sleep lab in the early evening and leave the next morning. We provide a natural sleeping environment with hotel-like accommodations, so you'll have your own comfortable, private room.
The sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, records brain activity, eye movement, oxygen and carbon dioxide blood levels, heart rate and rhythm, breathing rate and rhythm, the flow of air through your mouth and nose, snoring, body muscle movements, and chest and belly movement. The results are used to determine if you have one or more of the 80 sleep disorders that can interfere with your good night's sleep.
Using data from a wide range of sensors
Before the study, the technician will fit you with the sensors listed below. You may feel like a "bionic" person with all these wires attached to you, but most patients find they are able to sleep normally.
- An oximeter to measure how your blood oxygen levels change during sleep (blood oxygen levels decrease during apnea episodes)
- Electromyography (EMG) to measure the activity of the muscle groups around your chin, lower leg (tibia) and eyes
- Electrooculography (EOG) to measure eye movement, which are slower when you are in rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep)
- Electrocardiography (EKG, ECG) to measure the electrical activity of your heart
- Electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain wave activity to determine the different stages of sleep. Brain wave patterns also can be used to tell when you are in REM sleep
- Chest plethysmography to measure chest wall movements, which shows when you are taking a breath
- In addition, a video camera records how long it takes you to fall asleep and monitors your body movements during sleep.
CPAP study for sleep apnea
If moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed during the sleep study, we often recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) study. During this study, you're fitted with a nasal mask or a full-face mask that covers both your nose and mouth and is connected by a flexible tube to a small air compressor. The machine's fan gently pushes air through the tube, into the mask and down the back of your throat. The pressure level on the CPAP machine is started low and is gradually increased to find the right level of air pressure that will prevent the collapse of your airway during sleep.
If your sleep doctor orders a CPAP device, staff at our Legacy Good Samaritan location can help you rent or purchase this equipment and provide ongoing support as you adjust to CPAP therapy. Our Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Program accepts many insurance plans. Call 503-413-7543.