You’re up too late at night or the crack of dawn one morning, so you’re scrolling through social media channels. There are bound to be posts from insomniacs, complaining about the inability to get a good night’s sleep. Or maybe it’s you who can’t get even six, let alone eight, straight hours of shut eye.
If you identify with that dilemma, maybe a visit to the Hancock Sleep Disorder Center is in order. There are hotel-like rooms, Sleep Number beds, and all the necessary equipment to monitor sleep patterns so our experts can fix whatever’s keeping you up at night.
“We work with a lot of different sleep problems—people who can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, people who kick their legs at night, and people who are experiencing uncontrolled high blood pressure or maybe having the start of heart problems,” said Randy Campbell, director of Hancock’s Sleep Disorder Center. “All of those people really need a sleep study.”
Want to know more? Campbell answered a few questions about the center and the problems its experts can treat.
How do you know if you have a sleep issue?
A: Having trouble maintaining sleep is a good sign there’s a problem. It’s pretty normal for people to get up once, maybe even twice, at night. If you’re getting up more than that, you’re excessively thirsty during the night, or have night sweats, many times those are symptoms. Often, your spouse will hear snoring or notice you’re jerking or kicking. There are other symptoms, too, but those are the main ones. Between 25 and 40 percent of the population has sleep issues.
It sounds like there are a lot of people walking around with undiagnosed sleep problems. Is that true?
A: Yes and, even when we diagnose them, they sometimes don’t follow through with treatment. It used to really bother me because I know it can lead to heart problems. But what I’ve found is they’ll generally return when they’re having a hard time functioning. Then we’ll retest them and help them feel a lot better.
What are some of the health consequences of poor sleep?
A: Everything from exhaustion during the day to strokes, diabetes, and heart problems.
Why do people with sleep issues kick their legs in their sleep?
A: A lot of people have sleep apnea, which means their breathing is interrupted during sleep. Sometimes they’ll stop breathing for 15 seconds to even two to three minutes. Then their body will wake them up. Many times, leg kicks are related to a respiratory event. If your body is struggling, you’ll start kicking your leg to wake yourself up.
What’s the best treatment for sleep apnea?
A: The CPAP machine is one of them. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and it’s a mask the patient puts on before bed. It keeps the airway open while he or she is sleeping. Most people dislike the CPAP at first but, once they adjust, they won’t sleep without it. They can even travel with it—TSA knows exactly what it is—and there are units that can even be used during a flight.
What’s the process for getting a sleep study done?
A: We have a new center, so the accommodations are quiet and very nice—like a four-star hotel. We have six huge bedrooms with attached bathrooms and Sleep Number beds. Patients usually show up about 8 p.m., and we play them a video explaining what we’re going to do. Then they’ll go to sleep at around 10 p.m. Before they do, we’ll hook them up to some pretty extensive equipment. Once we’ve collected all of the data, we get them up around 5:30 a.m. and we have showers here, so they can get on with their day.
What are the concerns people express to you before getting a sleep study done?
A: Most patients are anxious about it and aren’t aware that they’ll be sleeping in a comfortable bed in a private room. Once they see that, they are a lot less anxious.
Is the sleep lab taking precautions because of COVID-19?
A: Absolutely. We’re cleaning 24/7, just like the rest of the hospital. We’re also COVID testing all of our patients, and the techs are gowned, gloved, and have face shields and masks.
We hope the information above is informative, especially if you suffer from sleep problems and are looking for help. If you have more questions about sleep disorders, check out our Neurology and Sleep Disorders Center page and contact us at 317-462-5544. Sweet dreams!