Couple sleeping, after sleeping at sleep center

Sleep problems contribute to a variety of serious chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. Although many people experience occasional trouble sleeping, if the problem is severe or persistent, it may require medical attention. If your sleep has been disturbed for more than a month and it begins to interfere with your ability to drive, hold a job, stay in school or perform normal daily activities, a physician and board-certified sleep specialist should evaluate you. A MedStar Health sleep center can help you get back on the road to a good night's sleep. Our sleep centers provide comprehensive assessment for adults and children with sleep disorders.

Symptoms associated with sleep disorders include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Short-term or chronic insomnia (the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep)
  • Snoring or irregular breathing during sleep
  • Restless leg syndrome or other periodic limb movements
  • Unexplained or worsening heart failure or edema
  • Unexplained pulmonary hypertension
  • Difficulty in controlling hypertension
  • Sleep walking and other sleep disturbance behaviors
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Depression

Sleep Disorders

It is estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from serious chronic and intermittent sleep disorders that undermine their sleep quality and their health. Some of the more common include:

  • Insomnia: The complaint of an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or awaking too early. This may be caused by poor sleep habits, alcohol, medications, and stress.
  • Sleep Apnea: An obstruction of the upper airway that results in breathing pauses and sleep disruption. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that causes people to stop breathing many times while they sleep. People suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have a higher risk of hypertension and strokes, as well as car accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Narcolepsy: This ailment causes people to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of sleep. Narcolepsy is typically associated sudden loss of muscle tone, vivid hallucinations occurring just before sleep, and the transient sensation of being paralyzed during the transition between sleep and wakefulness.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): Periodic episodes of leg jerks or movements that disrupt sleep.

Sleep Center Services

Monitoring your sleep during an overnight sleep study is usually the only way to determine whether a sleeping disorder exists. A sleep study records functions of the lungs, heart and other parts of the body. Testing is painless, risk-free and usually takes one full night.

Our test methods include:

  • Nocturnal Polysonogram (NPSG) is an overnight sleep study that evaluates and records the patient's physical state during sleep periods. Each study lasts about nine hours, including time to prepare the monitors. Patients generally arrive two hours before their usual bedtime.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is a daytime nap study to measure degree of daytime sleepiness. This test consists of a series of up to five naps during the day at two-hour intervals.

Sleep Center Treatments

There are a number of non-surgical and surgical treatments offered at our sleep centers that may be beneficial to you, including:

  • Bi-Level Positive Pressure: This procedure provides two different pressure levels for breathing in and out, and may be more comfortable for patients who have had difficulty tolerating CPAP.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP is a method of delivering pressurized air through a nasal mask which prevents the airway from closing during sleep. Air can then flow freely to and from the lungs. CPAP has a high success rate in treating obstructive sleep apnea, restoring normal sleep patterns, and eliminating daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
  • Oral Appliances: Oral appliances can be worn in the mouth at night to help quiet snoring and to treat mild cases of sleep apnea. If an oral device is right for you, you will first go through a sleep study and then be referred to a specially trained dentist for an examination and fitting.
  • Preoperative Sleep Apnea Evaluation
  • Sleep Medicine Consultation: This consultation identifies patients at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Surgery
  • Work-Related Performance and Safety Risk Evaluation