Sleep Medicine Program
Over the years, patients have become more aware of sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea. The Sleep Medicine program is a comprehensive, full-service clinical facility providing unsurpassed capabilities. Dr.Rani Athreya, Board Certified in both Neurology and Sleep Medicine, is highly qualified and specially trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of sleep disorders.
Operating with the latest and most advanced technology for the diagnosis of sleep disorders, our Sleep Medicine Program can provide patients with the best possible care in a relaxed environment.
Our sleep clinic provides a safe, accessible, and convenient location for our patients. Our sleep study rooms are furnished with patient comfort in mind, featuring regular beds instead of hospital beds and a pleasant atmosphere that looks and feels as much like home as possible. This setting provides a more favorable environment for conducting a sleep study, the most common procedure for evaluating and classifying sleep disorders.
- Common Sleep Disorders
- Diagnosis & Treatment
- Getting the Help, You Need
If you or a family member is experiencing a sleep problem, contact us or ask your family physician to refer you to HMC Neurology and Sleep for a proper evaluation.
Common Sleep Disorders
How do you know if you have a sleep disorder?
You might find yourself sleeping too much or too little. You might not be able to stay asleep. Your bed partner might mention that you’re snoring. Or you might feel that your sleep is just not satisfying, leading to sleepiness and fatigue throughout the day.
There are many different types of sleep disorders. The most common include the following:
It’s not unusual to have trouble falling or staying asleep every once in a while. But if it happens three nights a week for a period of at least three months, chronic insomnia is usually diagnosed.
Stress, anxiety, jet lag, and depression can all play a role in insomnia, leaving patients feeling moody and fatigued. Some people with insomnia have trouble concentrating during the day.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
For patients with restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep is disrupted by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and feet (and sometimes the arms or torso) at night. Moving the legs brings relief for a short time. RLS can have many causes, including pregnancy, nerve problems, or vitamin deficiencies. It is more common in middle- aged and older people, but can happen at any age. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that about 10% of adults in the United States have RLS.
Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s airway becomes blocked, causing that person to stop breathing, repeatedly, for short durations (usually ten seconds or longer) throughout the night. The person wakes up each time, and sleep becomes severely disrupted. In the short term, sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness and problems with concentration and memory. In the long term, sleep apnea can raise the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Narcolepsy is a disorder in which the brain cannot properly regulate sleep-wake cycles. Patients feel extremely sleepy during the day, although they usually sleep the same amount of time as people without the condition. Other symptoms of narcolepsy are cataplexy (sudden muscle tone loss caused by emotional reactions, such as laughter or anger), nightmares and hallucinations, and sleep paralysis (an inability to move when transitioning from sleep to wakefulness).
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are having trouble with sleep, HMC Neurology and Sleep can help. Dr. Rani Athreya and her staff can conduct a complete evaluation, including a neurological exam and a sleep analysis.
If necessary, a sleep study is the next step. Sleep studies usually take place overnight in a hospital setting, but in an environment that is conducive to sleep. Many sleep study rooms look just like a comfortable bedroom at home.
Once the patient arrives, sensors are attached to different parts of the body. These devices measure brain waves, heart rate, muscle and body movement, and eye movement during sleep. They also assess blood oxygen, breathing, and snoring. This process is called polysomnography. Sometimes, patients are videotaped during sleep as well. The following day, a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) may be done to learn more about the patient’s daytime sleepiness.
After the sleep study is complete, Dr. Athreya reviews the information, makes a diagnosis, and suggests treatment options. Treatments depend on the cause. For example, patients with sleep apnea may start working with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device that keeps the airway open during sleep. Those with sleep apnea or excessive snoring might undergo uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – surgery that removes tissue (such as the uvula, parts of the soft palate, or the tonsils) from the back of the throat.
In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can help. Losing weight, adjusting your sleep schedule, and avoiding substances like caffeine and alcohol can have great benefits. Dr. Athreya can guide you on the appropriate steps.
Sleep disorders can greatly interfere with your day-to-day life and your overall health. They can disrupt the lives of those around you, too. So it is important to be evaluated and start a treatment plan. Proper sleep can improve your well-being, your work performance, and your personal relationships as well as reduce your risk for serious medical conditions like heart attack and stroke.
If you or someone in your family has a sleep issue, contact us or ask your doctor for a referral. HMC Neurology and Sleep can effectively diagnose and treat your disorder, putting you on the path to better health.