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Discover Why You 'Didn't Sleep at All Last Night'

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If you spend most nights tossing and turning; you constantly wake up from snoring; or you stop breathing while sleeping, you may suffer from a sleeping disorder. But help is here. 

St. Mary’s Hospital now offers home sleep studies to more easily diagnose your ailment and get you on the road to a solid sleep. To qualify for a home sleep study, a physician must screen the patient for a sleep disorder and order the study. Currently, there are sleep studies conducted on the hospital grounds, but the home sleep study allows additional participants an opportunity to be monitored in the comfort of their own homes.

More than 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleeping disorders and 20 million Americans have occasional sleeping problems each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke through the National Institutes of Health. These disorders cost about $16 billion annually in medical costs.

Since there is such a large population with potential sleeping disorders, the new study provides another opportunity to reach more people suffering through the night. Kevin Oliver, director of Rehabilitation Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, believes for that reason the new program will be “a great service to the community.”

The typical person experiencing sleeping problems is middle-aged, slightly overweight, snores and is often tired during the day, Oliver said. The home sleep study will help about 80 percent of cases by detecting obstructive sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, but will not diagnose restless legs syndrome or neurological problems such as narcolepsy. 

Participants will set up an appointment and come to the hospital the evening of the study to pick up the equipment needed for the test, which consists of a nasal cannula to supply oxygen; a pulse oximeter placed on a finger to monitor the oxygen in the blood; and a belt with the monitoring unit.  Individuals in the study will sleep in their own beds with the equipment hooked up and return it to the hospital the next morning. A specialist will read the results and return a dictated report to the referring physician to decide a plan of action. One possible tool to aid people with an obstructive sleep disorder is a continuous positive airway pressure device, which is a mask that blows air while a person sleeps.

Sleep disorders can lead to possible cardiovascular disease and other related health issues, making detection vital.  

“The studies will make a positive impact on patients’ health,” in a comfortable setting, Oliver said.  

If you or a loved one is having trouble sleeping, try these tips from the National Sleep Foundation.  

  • Go to sleep at a set time each night.
     
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Relax prior to sleep — try reading or a warm bath. 
  • Sleep until the sun comes up, if possible.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake.  Instead, do something else like watching television or reading.
  • Control the temperature in your room.
  • See a doctor if problems persist.


For more information on the home sleep studies, contact

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