To diagnose Sleep Apnea, doctors may refer patients to Holland Hospital's Sleep Disorders Center for a sleep study. The study helps doctors evaluate nighttime breathing problems, unusual behaviors like sleepwalking, leg movements during sleep or severe daytime sleepiness. The Sleep Center recently increased its private rooms from six to 10 to reduce patient waiting lists.
The sleep study involves an overnight stay at the Sleep Disorders Center, which has hotel-like rooms furnished with cable television, a private bath and an adjustable bed. Patients check in at 7 p.m., are prepped for monitoring and then go about their regular bedtime routines. Technicians will hook up patients to monitors that record breathing patterns, brain waves, respiration rate, oxygen saturation and airflow through their noses, The results are recorded and then sent to the sleep specialist for review.
If Sleep Apnea is confirmed, there are several treatment approaches. Patients can try propping up their heads and upper torsos, or sleeping on their sides instead of their backs. Losing weight and getting enough sleep so that you're not overly tired at night can help. For more serious Sleep Apnea, medical intervention might be necessary.