Sleep Disorders Centers
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What Happens
During A Sleep Study

After you have been evaluated by a Sleep Specialist, an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist, or a Pulmonologist, you may be referred to have a sleep study.

You will arrive at the center around 9:30 pm so that the study can be performed during more typical sleeping hours. A technician will ask you some questions about your daily activities, caffeine intake, and the quality of your sleep the night prior to the study.

Your head will be measured and marked with a grease pencil, which washes off, and then small metal cups attached to wires called “leads” will be applied by means of a gel to your head and face. These leads pick up your brain waves, eye movements, and muscle activity. A device to monitor your airflow will be placed under and in your nostrils. This gives vital information about your breathing. A sensor will be applied to your throat to record your snore activity. An EKG lead will be place on each side of your chest to record your heart rhythm. A band will be placed around your chest and another around your abdomen to record the efforts that your chest and abdomen make while you are breathing. A lighted sensor will be applied to one of your fingers which will record the oxygen level in your blood. Finally, a lead will be applied to each leg to monitor the leg movements which occur during your sleep. A total of 20-21 or more different types of sensors will be applied to you to complete the set-up. None of these sensors hurt and all provide very important information that the doctor will be able to use to diagnose the problems that may be occurring while you sleep. It is a bit different than sleeping at home, but the knowledge that is gained should be very helpful to getting you on the road to many better nights of sleep in the future. So happy dreaming in the sleep center!

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Since sleep accounts for about a third of your life, we think it is very important. As a matter of fact, barring any other medical conditions, it is the third that determines the energy you have to put into the other two thirds. And, when you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you can feel its effects the next day. If night after night, you find it hard to get a good night’s sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. There are currently over 84 classified sleep disorders. From sleep apnea, to narcolepsy, to insomnia, to restless legs, to poor hygiene and parasomnias, we provide assessment and treatment for all sleep-related pathologies.

If you or someone you love is experiencing a sleep problem, we recommend that you call our office for an initial consultation. During the initial visit, the sleep specialist will take a thorough sleep history, conduct a brief physical examination, and decide whether additional diagnostic testing is necessary. Should you need additional testing, we will schedule an overnight sleep study. Overnight sleep studies are conducted in comfortable, homelike, private sleep suites. After the sleep study results are evaluated, our sleep specialists devise a treatment plan to put you on the road to healthy sleep. If you have questions, or would like to schedule an initial consultation, please contact one of our four office locations.
Sleep apnea: A serious disorder that interrupts a person's breathing during sleep, sometimes for several seconds and hundreds of times during the night. Sleep Apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing many times during sleep; these breathing pauses can last for as long as a minute. With each apnea event, the brain briefly rouses the sleeper in order for breathing to resume. As a result, sleep is fragmented and of poor quality. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness and loud snoring, though everyone who snores does not have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can trigger other, potentially fatal health problems including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, impotence, and morning headaches. Sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, including children and even athletes. Those at the highest risk are overweight and over 40.

Otolaryngologist: A physician who specializes in the ears, nose, and throat.


CPAP – Continuous Positive Air is forced into the airway at a set Pressure. The airflow is constant and holds the airway open at a set pressure when breathing in and out. This pressure can vary from 4 – 25 depending on the amount of air required to hold open a person’s airway and stop the obstructions that are occurring.

BIPAP – Bi-level Pressure that allows for a higher pressure when breathing in and a lower pressure when breathing out. This pressure can also vary from person to person.

AUTOPAP – The device will recognize if an obstruction occurs and will increase the pressure until the obstruction is overcome. This device is great for someone who cannot tolerate higher pressures or for someone that a definitive setting cannot be obtained.

Getting Acquainted to CPAP

There are many different ways for people to become acquainted with their unit. Some people find it very easy to use from the beginning. Others find a period of time is needed to become comfortable with the machine. Finding the correct mask for the user can often be a challenge. One mask does not work for everyone. Sometimes it takes sampling different types of masks to find the one. Keeping in contact with the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company that provides the machine and supplies is important. If a patient is having a problem, contacting the equipment company for assistance is essential.

If a patient is claustrophobic, the best solution is to use a mask that is less obtrusive. There are many newer masks on the market that do not have to be strapped to the patient’s head tightly. Secondly, start off using the unit slowly to get familiar with the machine. This will help you to acclimate to the mask and the treatment.

The upper airway has two responsibilities to the lungs. First, it works as a filter to pick up the dust particles that are breathed. By pushing the air into your airway at a higher pressure your airway is not able to do this efficiently. The machine will come with filters that will replicate this action. Replacement of these filters is very important. Insurance companies are aware of this and will pay for the replacement filters on a monthly basis. Secondly, your airway adds humidity to the air you breathe. The air pressure from the machine is bypassing the ability to add this humidity, therefore a humidifier is often ordered by the physician when the machine is prescribed.

Common Problems with CPAP / BiPAP

1. Mask Leaks – Usually caused by a poor fitting of the mask. Call the Durable Medical Equipment / Home Health Company and inquire about being fitted with a better fitting mask. The mask may simply need to be adjusted differently. Over time, the mask will begin to age and mask leakage is an indication that a new mask is needed.

2. Nasal Dryness – CPAP/ BiPAP units blow air into your airway and dryness can occur. Heated humidification added to the unit can fix the problem. By increasing the heat on the humidifier, the humidity will be increased.

3. Nose Bleeds – Usually results from excessive dryness and should not persist more than two days. If persistent, contact your sleep physician’s office.

4. Mask Removal at Night – This can be a normal response when becoming acquainted to the unit. This should stop after a short time, however the pressure of the machine may need to be adjusted if it does not. Please contact your physician for help with this.

5. Mouth Opening – This problem can be solved by using a full face mask or using a chin strap. Contact your home healthcare provider.

6. Snoring – The pressure may be too high or too low on the machine. Mouth breathers may need a full face mask. Weight gain may also increase snoring. Schedule an appointment with your sleep physician.

7. Skin Irritation – A reaction to a new mask or problems with pressure on your face from a mask needs to be communicated to the equipment company first and if they cannot help, contact your sleep physician’s office.

Cleaning Your CPAP/ BiPAP Machine

It is important to keep the CPAP/ BiPAP unit and the filters, hoses, humidifier, and mask clean. Daily cleaning with warm soapy water followed by rinse is recommended. Hanging the hoses and mask up will allow for complete drying. Upper respiratory infection can occur if the supplies and unit are not kept clean.
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