Snoring patients need a way to stay off their back when sleeping because as we relax on our backs the tissue in the throat falls more easily across the airway. A great help for staying off the back during sleep is to wear a tennis ball shirt.
When I first started working in the sleep lab, we ordered tennis ball shirts for all of our snoring patients. The shirt is a normal tee shirt with a pocket in the center of the back to hold a regular tennis ball. The idea is that the tennis ball will remind the patient to roll back to the side instead sleeping on their back.
I also have heard of Sleep Labs that put three pockets for tennis balls across the back for maximum coverage. If you do not have access to a tennis ball shirt then safety pin a sock filled with rolled socks to the back of the your tee shirt and happy sleeping.
A Parasomnia can be a number of sleep disorders that keep one from getting a normal sleep. A few of the most common parasomnias are Sleep Walking, Sleep Terrors, and Gritting of the teeth.
Sleep Walking occurs when one gets up during sleep and walks around. This can be very dangerous if a person leaves the house. Their have been cases in which people walked out into busy streets and were killed by oncoming traffic.
Sleep terrors or screaming occurs during sleep and can disrupt the whole house. As a person sits up in bed, screaming and trashing about they are normally not aware of the situation. A person having a sleep terror is hard to arouse from sleep and is confused if woke.
Teeth Gritting is also a Parssomina called Bruxism. Bruxism is damage or wear to the teeth caused by gritting of the teeth during sleep. Symptoms can include jaw discomfort, fatigue, pain, and headaches.
CPAP is the best and quickest way to control Sleep Apnea. A CPAP is a device that delivers Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In simple terms, CPAP delivers continuous air through a mask or nasal pillows into your nose and down your throat keeping the airway open so that the airway does not cause blockage.
Once Sleep Apnea is, diagnosed one of the first options is to have a second overnight sleep study so that CPAP corrects the airway obstruction. Titration is the term used to find out how much positive air it takes to keep the airway open and stop the number of Sleep Apnea episodes.
I had a patient with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which had disrupted his life over the years. Once he started using his CPAP, he said, “I feel so good I would not take a million dollars for my CPAP unit.
No! I do not mean the Narcotic Squad is coming to get you; I am alerting you to a Sleep Disorder called Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a neurological problem that causes a person to fall asleep abruptly during the daytime. Abrupt spells of sleep called “Sleep Attacks,” can occur while driving, eating, laughing, talking, or on the job and in severe cases can be very dangerous.
Narcolepsy is diagnosed by having the following test: PSG (Polysomnogram), MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test), and Hypocretin. PSG will look for any other underline problems such as Apnea or REM. MSLT requires a daytime study with naps every two hours during the day to look for sudden onset of REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement).
Hypocretin tests the Cerebrospinal fluid, and according to the Stanford School of Medicine “90% of Narcolepsy patients have low levels of Hypocretin.”
There is no cure for Narcolepsy but research is ongoing, and medications teamed with lifestyle changes are the best offer available to Narcolepsy victims, for now.
You have a Sleep Study or Polysomnogram scheduled so it will require an overnight study in the Sleep Lab to diagnose Sleep Apnea. Your primary doctor should have already completed a history and physical on you in the office and sent that information on to the Sleep Lab to have on hand at your night study.
A Sleep Technician or Sleep Lab Coordinator should call you with detailed instructions on what to bring to the lab and what you should expect from your overnight study. If the lab does not call, you call them.
Normally you should bring your medications, your medical history, and sleepwear with a button open to the front, your pillow if needed, toiletries, reading material if needed, and cloths for the next day. You do not need to bring anyone with you because there is not room for him or her to stay.
Once at the Sleep Lab you will be, ask to fill out a questionnaire, and get dressed for bed. Most Sleep Labs nowadays look like a hotel room. The Sleep Technician will attach electrodes to your head, face, and legs. The electrodes attach with a water-soluble paste. There are no needles involved and no need to be anxious. Your brain activity (EEG), Muscle (EMG), Rapid Eye Movement(REM) will be recording onto a special sleep computer during the night. A small recorder is attach like an oxygen tube to your nose and records air movement from the nose and mouth. Effort belts attached to the chest and abdominal and record respiratory effort throughout the night. After you are ready for bed the technician will turn lights out and monitoring for the night will begin.
When you wake in the morning, the technician will get your settings, vital signs and unhook the wires. You may shower and you are free to go