Are you tired even though you went to bed early? Do you or your partner snore? Daytime drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, snoring and more, may be signs of sleep apnea.

Most people don’t have the slightest idea that they are suffering from a serious breathing-related sleep disorder. It is estimated that 22 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea, 80 percent of whom are undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This prevents the body from receiving enough oxygen and has immediate effects on daily life.

When left untreated, this condition can have serious long term consequences. High blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, sleepiness leading to accidents, all can be consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

Talk to your physician or health provider first about your symptoms and concerns and ask about options.

Although the condition can occur in men and women of any age, men are more likely than women to have sleep apnea and the risk increases with age. Plus, smoking and carrying extra weight can also increase the chances of developing sleep apnea. Your healthcare provider may ask you to make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight and sleeping on your side instead of your back. However, if a case is more serious, your provider may recommend a sleep study.

Your healthcare provider can request an overnight oximetry. This involves wearing overnight, a probe on your finger that measures your oxygen levels and heart rate. Depending on the results, your doctor may recommend a sleep study.

Fortunately, a sleep study can be obtained locally at CHI Mercy Health’s Sleep Center in Roseburg.

One common misconception about sleep centers is that they are uncomfortable and the equipment will make it hard for a person to fall asleep. CHI Mercy Health’s Sleep Center is furnished like comfortable, homelike hotel rooms.

Similar to a stay at a hotel, patients of the sleep center are asked to come prepared with an overnight bag of comfortable clothing to sleep in, medications, a change of clothes for in the morning, toiletries and anything else that will make them feel relaxed.

Generally, a sleep study is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., giving patients enough time to adjust to their surroundings and go through their normal nightly routine before an average 10 p.m. bedtime.

As long as patients consume no caffeine, alcohol or any other substance that may affect sleep, they should have minimal if any issues falling asleep.

Once a patient arrives at the Sleep Center, they will watch an informational video about sleep studies to know what to expect from the evening. A technologist will monitor the patient’s sleep all night.

If the test reveals that the patient is experiencing severe obstructive sleep apnea, then the technologist may wake the patient to fit him or her with a mask and headgear.

The mask may fit under or around the nose or may cover both the nose and mouth. The mask sends a steady stream of air into the back of the throat, which can be adjusted to help the patient breathe normally.

The most common mode of treatment is called CPAP treatment.

The collected data is scored then reviewed and interpreted by physicians who specialize in sleep medicine. They will review the data/results to make a diagnosis and then share the results with the referring healthcare provider.

Sleep studies produce very large amounts of data, containing information about brain waves, eye movements and breathing patterns.

This data is used to develop a plan for treatment, enabling patients to enjoy more restful and rejuvenating sleep in the future that will boost immunity, metabolism and energy.

If you find yourself waking up frequently during the night, and if your partner complains about your snoring, there may be relief for both of you.

You may be suffering from a breathing-related sleep disorder without even knowing it.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns, or call Mercy’s Sleep Center at 541-677-1290 for more information.

Dr. Razvan Gosman is a sleep medicine specialist, and is the Medical Director at CHI Mercy Health Sleep Lab in Roseburg.

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