If you are experiencing symptoms of a sleep disorder, a visit to your family doctor is the appropriate first step. Your physician may be able to help you resolve the problem, or he/she can write you a prescription (referral) for a sleep study.
Are You Too Sleepy?
Take our interactive Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) test to help determine if you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. The ESS is a screening tool used by the American Association of Sleep Medicine that will help you measure your general level of sleepiness.
What Is 'Normal' Sleep?
Normal sleepers have a relatively predictable "sleep architecture"—the term used to describe an alternating pattern of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep, or active sleep and quiet sleep. In quiet sleep, the body drifts through four stages, from light to very deep sleep. Breathing, heartbeat and brain waves become slower.
The body then drifts back to stage two before switching to the fifth stage— active, or REM, sleep—when breathing, heartbeat and brain waves quicken, vivid dreams occur, and rapid eye movements take place behind the eyelids. After the REM stage, the body returns to stage two. The normal sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and is repeated four to six times per night.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
Sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults require about eight hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function normally after as little as six hours of sleep, while others aren't at their peak performance unless they have slept for 10 hours. Contrary to common misconceptions, the need for sleep does not decline with age.
The Price of Poor Sleep
Adequate sleep is not just rest for a weary body, it is essential to peak performance, good mental and emotional functioning, and safety. Even occasional sleeping problems can impair the ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning and logical reasoning—interfering with productivity and raising stress levels. They can also have catastrophic, even deadly, consequences. According to the National Sleep Foundation, fatigue contributes to more than 100,000 police-reported highway crashes, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Making the Diagnosis
Sometimes your medical history may reveal the problem.Keeping a "sleep diary" may also shed light on what is causing your symptoms.
Some disorders, such as sleep apnea, must be confirmed through the results of a sleep study (polysomnogram).Duringa diagnostic overnight PSG (polysomnographic) study,your sleep patterns and brain, heart, muscle and breathing activity are recorded while you are sleeping overnight. A diagnostic daytime multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) may be performed the following morning to measure how quickly you fall asleep in quiet situations during the day and how quickly and often you enter deep (REM) sleep. This study is useful in diagnosing narcolepsy and assessing daytime sleepiness levels.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) titration testing may be performed during the second half of your overnight sleep study or on a subsequent visit. CPAP is a sleep apnea treatment delivered through a specially designed nasal mask worn during sleep. The testing determines the level of CPAP pressure required to alleviate the apnea.
When you undergo a sleep study, you will be assigned to a private bedroom where you will be fitted with monitoring equipment. The equipment transmits data electronically to there cording equipment.
Surface electrodes on your face and scalp measure electrical activity generated by your brain and muscle movements. Belts placed around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing. An oximeter on your finger measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
The information is captured on recording equipment that sleep technologists monitor throughout the study. The technology includes:
- an EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure and record brain wave activity;
- an EMG (electromyogram) to record muscle activity such as face twitches, teeth grinding, and leg movements and help determine when you are in deep (REM) sleep;
- an EOG (electro-oculogram) to record eye movements, which are important in determining what stage of sleep you are in;
- anEKG (electrocardiogram) to record heart rate and rhythm;
- a nasal airflow sensor to record airflow;
- a snore microphone to record snoring activity; and
- a camera to record body positioning.
Depending on the nature of your problem, the sleep specialist may recommend any or a combination of the following treatment options:
- Lifestyle and behavioral modifications such as weight loss, regular exercise, and avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day. Relaxation training, cognitive therapy, stimulus control, sleep restriction therapy, and sleep hygiene can be effective approaches to eliminating or or curtailing behaviors that may interfere with normal sleep.
- Medication therapy, such as anti-parkinsonian drugs or dopamine agonists (used to treat restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder); benzodiazepines (a type of hypnotic used to treat parasomnias, bruxism and short-term insomnia.); non-benzodiazepine hypnotics (used for short-term insomnia, includes Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta); melatonin receptor stimulator (a new class of drug for treating insomnia); opiates (for restless legs syndrome); anticonvulsants (used to treat restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and insomnia); and antinarcoleptics (used to control excessive daytime sleepiness).
- Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others.
- Mechanical therapy.Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a common treatment for sleep apnea in which the patient wears a mask over the nose and/or mouth. An air blower continuously forces air through the upper airway with just enough pressure to prevent the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep. Dental appliances (oral mandibular advancement devices) also used for sleep apnea can prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or advance the lower jaw forward when the patient is lying down.
- Surgery is sometimes recommended for people with sleep apnea— usually after more conservative methods have failed. It is generally reserved for patients with upper airway obstruction, such as a deviated nasal septum.
Schedule a Complimentary Tour
If you sleep too much or too little, have unrestful sleep,or are experiencing symptoms that may be sleep-related, ask your physician for a prescription to visit the Center for Sleep Disorders. Check with your insurance plan to ensure that your care at the center will be covered, then call the center at (732) 303-5070 undefined undefined undefined undefined to schedule an appointment.
Want to see for yourself what we can do for you? Join us for a free tour of the Sleep Centerby calling undefined undefined undefined undefined (732) 303-5070.
Directions and Parking
The Center for Sleep Disorders is located on the 3rd floor (Suite 360) of CentraState's new Star and Barry Tobias Ambulatory Campus, 901 W. Main St., adjacent to CentraState Medical Center.
To view a map showing the location of the Sleep Center parking area (four spaces are reserved for overnight Sleep Study patients), the nearest entrance, and where to go once you're inside the building check the Related Documents Box listed to the right.
For more information about CentraState's Center for Sleep Disorders, call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727).