It is estimated that more than 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. If you think you might be one of these people, the Sleep Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center can help. The Sleep Lab focuses on diagnosing and treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea and sleep-related breathing disorders, and has the largest number of sleep-credentialed physicians and registered sleep technologists of any sleep lab in the area. To find out how we can help you improve your health and live your best life, continue reading or call us at the numbers listed below.
The Sleep Laboratory at St. Joseph's is fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep-related breathing disorders. This accreditation is the standard the public can use to evaluate sleep medicine services. Our accreditation ensures that we display and maintain proficiency in areas such as testing procedures and policies, patient safety and follow-up, and physician and staff training. In some cases, insurance carriers are more likely to reimburse you for treatment from an AASM-accredited sleep center.
Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common and most severe form of Sleep Apnea. The disorder causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. Tissues in the back of the throat collapse and block the airway, stopping air from getting into the lungs. Blockage of the airway can happen a few times a night or several hundred times a night. Nearly 90 percent of people with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.
Complications of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Cardiovascular complications
Left untreated, Sleep Apnea can greatly interfere with your professional and social life. Injuries at work, poor work performance, intellectual dysfunction, and automobile accidents can result from Sleep Apnea. Recent studies have found that the risk of premature death is three times higher in people with undiagnosed Sleep Apnea. The good news is that the Sleep Laboratory at St. Joseph's is here to help.
AWAKE - The CNY Sleep Disorders Support Group
St. Joseph's offers the area's only support group for people with sleep disorders. AWAKE--also known as Alert, Well, and Keeping Energetic--holds quarterly meetings for recent patients and provides people a support network as they continue on their way to optimal health. Patients who participate in support groups experience higher success in managing their disorders long term.
How Do I Get Diagnosed and Treated?
Talk to your physician about Sleep Apnea and other sleep disorders, or contact the Sleep Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center for information. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire so it can be reviewed by the Sleep Lab medical director. If the questionnaire suggests a sleep disorder, you will be scheduled for a sleep evaluation.
Patients requiring overnight studies visit the Sleep Laboratory on an outpatient basis. Some patients may require more than one night of testing and perhaps some daytime testing. Most patients are able to continue with their normal routines the next morning.
How Is My Sleep Monitored?
You will be scheduled to report to one of our two Sleep Laboratories. Once you are ready for bed, a technologist will apply sensors, electrodes, and other monitoring devices. This painless procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The monitoring devices are connected to a computer that records various aspects of your sleep, including: brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity in chin and legs, heart activity, breathing effort, and oxygen saturation. A camera records your sleep throughout the night. At all times, you are able to speak with a technologist in an adjacent room by intercom.
What Are the Rooms Like?
The rooms are designed to make you feel as comfortable as possible by representing a home-like environment. They are carpeted and include large beds, televisions, and air conditioning.
What do I Need to Take with Me?
It is important that you take comfortable night clothes you are used to wearing. Two-piece pajamas, required for women, make it easier for the technologist to apply electrodes while respecting your privacy. You may decide to take your own pillow if it will help you sleep more comfortably. Also take any medications or equipment you may need. You should be finished with your test and on your way in the morning, unless you are required to have daytime testing.
You may be required to have a series of daytime tests consisting of several napping periods at two-hour intervals. These usually start at 8 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. Daytime testing is also available for people who work night shifts and sleep during the day.
What do I Need to Take for Daytime Testing?
Daytime testing, as well as overnight testing, is considered an outpatient procedure. You will need clothing for the next day, food or money to buy food, personal toiletries, something to work on or read, any medications or equipment you may need, and a complete sleep diary.
Will My Medical Insurance Cover Charges?
Most insurance carriers cover some or all of the costs involving sleep studies. Because insurance policies vary, it is your responsibility to verify insurance coverage prior to your study.
If You Miss an Appointment
Because the Sleep Laboratory has a limited number of beds and study rooms, you missing an appointment causes a longer wait time for other patients. We encourage you to keep appointments. If you do need to cancel, we ask that you do so more than 24 hours in advance, so someone else can be offered your appointment time. If a patient continues to miss appointments, we will discontinue service to that patient.
What Happens if I'm Diagnosed?
Patients who are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea will likely be treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP). These therapies relieve the airway obstruction that occurs while you sleep. Most patients experience the following reactions to treatment:
- Increased energy level and attentiveness during the day
- Fewer morning headaches
- Reduced irritability
- Improved memory
- Increased ability to exercise
- Increased effectiveness at home or at work
- Improved overall quality of life