Sleep Health

Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively, but only once the condition has been thoroughly and accurately diagnosed. Providence sleep medicine experts can help your doctor determine exactly what factors are preventing you from getting a great night’s sleep.

During an initial sleep consultation, a sleep specialist will interview you to learn about your sleep habits. The specialist uses your sleep history to evaluate symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, daytime sleepiness or fatigue, breathing problems during sleep, restless legs at night and other various troublesome behaviors.

A sleep specialist may recommend an overnight sleep study for further evaluation. If your sleep study confirms a sleep disorder, our experienced staff will tailor a treatment plan just for you.

A sleep study, or Polysomnogram (PSG), is an overnight recording of sleep patterns and behaviors associated with sleep. Sleep studies help determine what stages of sleep an individual achieves and whether any sleep-related abnormalities are present. Sensors are applied to your skin to record brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, body movements, heart rate, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. The sensors are painless, and although there are connecting wires to the diagnostic instruments, you are free to get up and walk around as needed.

During the sleep study, every attempt is made to allow for a normal night’s sleep.

People typically sleep better or worse when away from home, but in either case this does not usually affect the quality of the sleep study. Our sleep centers are set up like bedrooms and are furnished with select comfort beds. Patients wear their own bedclothes, can bring their favorite pillow and toiletries to shower in the morning. A trained sleep technologist explains the procedure, operates the diagnostic equipment and is stationed all night in an adjacent control room. They monitor the sleep recording and ensure the sleep study participant is comfortable.

Following the sleep study, a sleep specialist interprets the recording. The findings are integrated with your sleep history to determine a diagnosis and make the appropriate treatment recommendations. A sleep study report is also sent to your primary care physician, who should review your results at a follow-up office visit.

A person diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may be referred to a sleep center for a sleep study with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. A CPAP is the most effective and widely used method of treating sleep apnea.

While asleep, a CPAP machine gently delivers air into a person's airway through a specially designed mask which fits over the nose or mouth, thereby creating enough pressure to keep the airway open and produce immediate relief from sleep apnea and snoring. Most people get used to the CPAP apparatus after a few minutes and have little difficulty sleeping with it in place. It is important to note that the CPAP does not breathe for the person, but instead allows the person to breathe at a normal rate.

At the beginning of a CPAP study, sensors are applied to your skin to monitor brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. Before you fall asleep, the sleep technologist will place the CPAP mask and make sure it is a comfortable fit.

Individuals who experience excessive daytime sleepiness or who fall asleep at inappropriate times may be referred by their physician to a sleep center for a Multiple Sleep Latency Test or a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test.

The MSLT is designed to measure how long it takes a person to fall asleep during the course of a day. The MSLT is conducted the day following an overnight PSG. The test consists of nap recordings. During these naps, a sleep technologist monitors the patient's sleep/wake patterns. The MSLT takes an entire day to administer, and is usually completed before 7:00 p.m.

The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MSLT) is designed to measure how long it takes a person to fall asleep during the course of a day. The MSLT is conducted the day following an overnight PSG. The test consists of nap recordings. During these naps, a sleep technologist monitors the patient's sleep/wake patterns. The MSLT takes an entire day to administer, and is usually completed before 7:00 p.m.