Sleep ~ Wake Center

Questions About Sleep Disorders

How would I know if I have a sleep problem?

The best way to decide if you might have a sleep disorder is if you have one or more of these common sleep disorder symptoms:

  • Loud or irregular breathing during sleep
  • Episodes where you hold your breath (called apneas) during sleep
  • Gasping for air that causes you to wake up during sleep
  • Un-refreshing sleep
  • Drowsy driving
  • Sleepiness while on the job
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability and/or apathy
  • Memory difficulties
  • Uncomfortable leg sensations when trying to sleep
  • Leg kicking during sleep
  • Yelling or screaming during sleep
  • Violent activity during sleep

If you do have one or more symptoms, you may want to make an appointment with a sleep specialist.

How is a sleep disorder evaluated?

After meeting with a sleep specialist to discuss your symptoms and medical history and answer any other questions your specialist may have, you may be tested with any of the following diagnostic tests:  

  • Overnight home oxygen recordings
  • Overnight portable home sleeping testing
  • Overnight sleep recording (polysomnography) in the Sleep ~ Wake Center
  • Daytime nap recordings (multiple sleep latency test)

If the sleep specialist diagnoses a sleeping disorder, you will next have to decide with them what treatments will work best for you.

What type of treatments are involved?

The treatment for your sleep disorder may involve any of the following:

  • Air pressure and oxygen assistance for breathing during sleep
  • Behavioral intervention for managing psychophysiological insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Medications for restless leg syndrome
  • Medications for narcolepsy and other related neurologic disorders of excessive daytime sleepiness

The sleep specialists at University Health Care are experienced and very conscious of a patient’s needs. They will work hard to help you find the treatment that is best for you.

What is NCPAP?

NCPAP is an acronym standing for Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. An NCPAP is a method used to treat a person’s partial or complete airway collapse, which could happen for many different reasons, but is usually prescribed for sleep apnea.

A person who uses NCPAP typically wears a small mask over his/her nose during the night. This mask is connected to a machine that gently delivers a positive pressure to the individual's airway at the back of the throat and can be adjusted for each individual. This pressure "splints" or holds open the airway allowing normal airflow in and out when the person breathes.

What is snoring, and why would it affect my sleep?

Snoring is the sound that occurs when the flow of air is partially blocked in the back of the throat. Because the airway is partially blocked, the air has to speed up to move through this obstruction causing the tongue, soft palate and uvula to vibrate against each other. In addition to disturbing one's own sleep patterns, this can disturb the sleep patterns of bed partners. Snoring can also be a symptom of a more serious medical condition known as obstructed sleep apnea (OSA).

Snoring may be caused by these factors:  

  • Jaw and throat anatomy
  • Body weight 
  • Family history 
  • Alcohol 
  • Heart or lung conditions 
  • Sleep position 
  • Nasal problems

To prevent occasional or mild snoring, an individual can try any of these methods:

  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding alcohol before bedtime 
  • Sleeping on your side 
  • Tilting the head of your bed up about four inches.

Heavy or chronic snoring may require medical care and should be evaluated by a specially trained specialist. Working with you, this sleep specialist will find a customized treatment for your condition.

How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment, call this number for the Sleep ~ Wake Center:

(801) 581-3067