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Put Sleep Problems to Rest

March 10, 2021 Posted in: Primary Care

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Forty percent of adults sleep less than 7 hours each weeknight, and 74 percent of adults experience sleeping problems a few nights a week. Men are three times more likely to be affected by sleep apnea than women. More than just interfering with your productivity (and how good you feel during the day), sleep apnea also poses other potential risks – like stroke, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

One in every 15 Americans are living – and suffering – with sleep apnea. That’s roughly 18 million people nationwide. What’s more, 10 million people don’t know they have the condition. Common signs of sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, extremely loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation, insomnia and abrupt awakenings. Without enough quality sleep, people are more likely to experience moodiness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and memory problems. If feeling worn out even after a full night’s sleep is starting to get you down, it might be time to seek help from the sleep experts. 

Comprehensive care conquers sleep 

CHI Memorial’s Sleep Center is fully accredited and uses advanced technology to diagnose sleep disorders and create personalized treatment plans. Board certified sleep specialists can help get to the bottom of your problem through a sleep study, or testing used to diagnose sleep disorders. During the study, a sleep technologist uses monitors to record your brain activity, breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels and other body functions. The results are evaluated by a sleep medicine specialist who then develops treatment recommendations. 

In addition to sleep apnea, treatment for others sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy (uncontrollable drowsiness and sleeping), and restless leg syndrome are also available. Sleep apnea is most often addressed through a CPAP machine, a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep. Dental devices that move the jaw and tongue forward and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help patients change actions or thoughts that interfere with restful sleep. 

Sleep apnea can have serious consequences, but effective treatments are available to help you improve your quality of life. Learn more about CHI Memorial’s Sleep Center, or call (423) 495-REST (7378)

Improved technology, better sleep

If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep specialist will likely recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy – it’s the gold standard for treating OSA and some other sleep disorders. CPAP machines are electronic devices that use a connective hose and breathing mask to deliver humidified and pressurized air into the nose. It’s meant to help improve sleep and reduce daytime fatigue. Added benefits include lowering the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions that are linked to many sleep issues. 

Many people are quick to dismiss CPAP therapy, thinking the machine would be too cumbersome, bothersome or uncomfortable. Thankfully in the last 10 years, CPAP technology has improved dramatically, including: 

Quieter devices. While some enjoy the white noise that comes from earlier generation CPAP machines, others have likened it to a dull roar. Today’s models are sleek and quiet, making it easier for you – and your partner – to sleep more soundly. 

Better fitting face masks. A properly fitting face mask is one of the keys to success with a CPAP machine. Although the traditional triangular mask works well for some patients, others find it confining. Nasal pillows are a great option that seal around the base of the nose using a soft pillow. This headgear is preferred by people who want a less restrictive mask. Further breakthroughs in technology are replacing standard headgear with adhesive strips that adhere to the patient’s nose. Because they aren’t inserted into the nostrils, they’re the least invasive face mask option available today. 

Lower pressure options for sensitive patients. Some people who have difficulty with wearing a CPAP report that the amount of pressure delivered by older machines was too much to handle. Patient-specific pressure settings available on some newer models can be carefully adjusted for each patient’s airway and comfort. 

Improved portability. In the past, people with sleep apnea had to choose between lugging around a large machine or risking a bad night’s sleep while away from home or traveling. Newer CPAP machines are much smaller, more compact and easily fit in a suitcase, without sacrificing the machine’s quality. 

If your sleep study shows you would benefit from CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, you have options. CHI Memorial Sleep Specialists will work with you to find the right combination of devices and accessories to help you sleep more soundly – and more comfortably – than you thought possible. Call (423) 495-REST (7378) for more information. 

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