Sleep Study May Alleviate Sleepless NightsSleep allows us to awake refreshed and ready for another day. Yet, some people wake up feeling tired or groggy. When symptoms persist, a sleep study may be in order. "There are several reasons why a patient may require a sleep study," says sleep medicine specialist Javaad Khan, M.D. "If a patient reports snoring, choking or gasping while asleep that wakes him/her up; or a bed-partner reports shallow breathing, then the risk of sleep apnea is great."
However, not all patients have obvious physical signs that something is wrong with their sleep patterns. "Awaking unrefreshed, feeling tired and fatigued during the day, morning headaches or a dry mouth may be the only symptoms that are present," Dr. Khan says. Women may only report insomnia, and yet severe sleep apnea may be present.
Patients who experience increased severity of congestive heart failure, new onset atrial fibrillation, heart attack, pregnant women or those who have had a stroke may need a sleep study.
"A sleep study records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and blood pressure," Dr. Khan says. A sleep study, called a polysomnography, also records the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood, air movement through their nose while they breathe, snoring, and limb and chest movements. The chest movements show whether the patient is making an effort to breathe. Treatment ranges from:
- A change in sleep position; not sleeping on your back
- Weight loss
- Upper airway surgery
- Oral appliances
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
"More than 20 million adults in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)," Dr. Khan says. "More than 75 percent of those people are undiagnosed. If left untreated, OSA impacts the body from head to toe. It compromises the immune system, increasing the risk of infections; and increases the risk and complicates the care of many other medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, depression, sexual dysfunction and chronic pain syndromes. It also increases the risk involved in surgery, both before and after surgery."
Once patients receive a proper diagnosis, most get the treatment that puts them back in a restful state each night. "They report feeling refreshed and rejuvenated," Dr. Khan says. "After many years of not sleeping properly and feeling tired, they had forgotten what a good night of sleep felt like. They wake in the morning with tremendous energy. No more headaches, no more fatigue, no more snoring, no more nightmares, no more sleepless nights."
Sleep: What's REM Got to do With It
Javaad Khan, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
13601 Plantation Road
Fort Myers, FL 33908