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Sleep disorders can cause problems falling asleep and staying asleep; difficulties staying awake or adhering to a consistent sleep/wake cycle; sleepwalking; bedwetting and nightmares. Sleep apnea – momentary cessation of breathing while sleeping – is among the most common disorders. It can interrupt sleep hundreds of times a night. Some sleep disorders are potentially fatal.

Symptoms of potential sleep disorders include:
  • constant drowsiness
  • irritability
  • loud or irregular snoring
  • difficulty breathing during sleep
  • morning headache, sore throat or mouth dryness
  • loss of energy

    Sleep is not merely a ‘time out’ from daily life. It is essential for mental and physical restoration. There are more than 80 known sleeping disorders that can interfere with that vital sleep. Lack of sleep is not only disruptive – it’s dangerous. Each year sleep-related accidents cause death, injuries, lost productivity and cost billions of dollars in health care and damaged property. There are enough things in life to worry about. Sleep should not be one of them.Many sleep disorders can be traced to neurological or pulmonary causes. In Satilla Regional Medical Center’s two-bed Sleep Lab, we can monitor a patient’s patterns during sleep. Diagnosis clears the way for treatment that can dramatically improve the quality of life for those suffering from sleep disorders.

    Having a Sleep Study
    A Nocturnal Polysomnogram, or sleep study, is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that there are no needles involved and it is painless. The following information is designed to answer any questions you may have, as well as to make you feel more comfortable when going to the hospital for a sleep study.

    In order to monitor your sleep patterns, breathing and oxygen levels, it is necessary to apply various sensors to your head, face, chest, and legs. Some sensors will be applied with a special jelly, and others will be applied with tape or will be self-adhesive. They are small, and generally are not uncomfortable. Following your study, the electrodes will be removed gently, others will dissolve with water.

    Before a sleep study, you should not consume any caffeine products, such as chocolate, colas, tea or coffee after 10:00 AM on that day. If you are sleepy during the day, please get up and move around. DO NOT TAKE ANY NAPS.

    Shower/Lotions/Hair Spray
    You may shower before you arrive at the hospital, but DO NOT APPLY BODY OR HAIR LOTION after you shower.

    Sleeping Attire
    Please bring shorts and a loose fitting T-shirt to sleep in, and any other clothes needed for the following day.

    Arrival at the Hospital
    When your sleep study has been scheduled, you will be asked to arrive at Satilla Regional Medical Center Emergency Room entrance at 8:45 p.m. for outpatient registration. Please bring all insurance information necessary, and any other financial paperwork that may have been requested at an earlier time.

    Your sleep study and evaluation will help diagnose your problem and some of the possible causes. Some of the treatment options may include surgery, lifestyle changes or the use of a CPAP machine. Surgery options can be discussed with your physician. Lifestyle changes may include weight loss, stress reduction, or cessation of alcohol and tobacco use.

    Common Sleep Disorders

    Sleep Apnea
    Sleep Apnea or "lack of breath" can be a life threatening disorder. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common in adults, occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and block the upper airway. This can occur several hundred times a night interrupting sleep with gasps for air. These awakenings are usually not remembered by the sleeper. Loud snoring is also common with obstructive sleep apnea.

    For sleep apnea, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a useful tool. It is a small device that keeps the airway open by continuously pushing air through a mask while you sleep. Sleeping with the mask may take some getting used to, but eliminating snoring and the "awakenings" will allow you to get a good night’s sleep. Most patients feel better and are less tired during the day after their first night with the CPAP machine.

    If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may suffer from insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, depression or other medical conditions.

    This disorder is characterized by the frequent and immediate need to sleep. These "sleep attacks" can happen at any time and can last from 30 seconds to 30 minutes long. There is no cure for narcolepsy, however, lifestyle changes can help sufferers lead a more normal life.

    Restless Leg Syndrome
    Tingling legs, uncontrollable leg jerks or other uncomfortable feelings in the legs at night can be caused from restless leg syndrome. It is most common in people over the age of 65 and has no cure although some treatments can provide temporary relief.

    Speak to your personal physician first. You may also contact the Sleep Lab at Satilla Regional Medical Center directly to obtain a sleep quiz you can complete and take to your physician. If your physician determines that you may benefit from a sleep study, the physician`s office staff will schedule an appointment for you.

    Satilla Regional`s Sleep Lab is located in the Satilla Regional Rehabilitation Institute at 2500 Satilla Parkway in Waycross.
    View a map to the Rehab Institute.