Help from a Sleep Center

Could all that tossing and turning at night be hurting your health? Thousands of people each year turn to sleep centers to help answer that very question.

Rich Schoenfeld, manager of the St. Mark’s Hospital Sleep Center, addresses some common concerns.

· How can being chronically exhausted affect a person’s life?

It is estimated that drowsy drivers cause approximately 200,000 car accidents happen in this country each year — and 5,000 to 6,000 of those crashes are fatal
Impaired memory
Impaired work or school performance (Can’t sit for long without dozing off)
Overall reduced quality of life

· What are some of the more common signs of a sleep disorder?

Ask yourself these questions:
. Do I struggle to stay awake during the day?
. Has my significant other suggested a separate bedroom because I snore loudly?
. Do I wake up gasping for air on a regular basis, or has someone told me that I stop breathing during my sleep?
If you answered yes to any symptoms, talk to your doctor and ask about a sleep study.
. Research shows that getting enough quality sleep is essential for overall good health. However, many people don’t take regularly disrupted sleep seriously.

· What are the most common sleep disorders?
There are nearly 100 medically categorized sleep disorders
Obstructive sleep apnea (when people stop breathing for 10 seconds or more frequently during the night)

. Try holding your breath for a full minute while you’re awake – and feel the stress of starving your body and essential organs of oxygen for that period of time.

· That seems like a long time to go without breathing! Does that cause serious health risks?
Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic in our country
That’s because sleep disorders can lead to…
. High blood pressure
. Heart attacks and heart disease
. Respiratory failure
. Stroke and sudden death
. Obesity and diabetes (Conversely, significant weight loss can eliminate sleep disorders and diabetes.)

· How common is sleep apnea?
More than 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems – ½ of them have a serious sleep disorder (demographics range widely but generally)
Around 50,000 preventable deaths are caused by sleep apnea (and are related to heart disease, stroke, sudden death, diabetes)

· What is a sleep study like?
Briefly the process from primary doctor to the sleep study
At our center, we’ve worked hard to create a comfortable, home-like atmosphere for sleep studies that also enables the best diagnosis possible.
After the study, your doctor will follow-up with you and discuss the study findings and your treatment options, if necessary.

· Once a sleep disorder is diagnosed, what are some of the treatment options?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP is usually considered the “Gold Standard.”

If a CPAP is part of your recommended treatment, here are some tips:
. Make sure the CPAP mask fits properly (this may take a few tries)
. Try wearing the mask during the day while relaxing to help you get used to it
. Replace worn out equipment when needed
Behavioral modifications
. Limit large meals, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime
. Don’t exercise right before bedtime
. Quiet, relaxing activity to prepare for bed

· How do people typically feel after treatment?
Most people enjoy:
. Increased energy and vitality
. Better able to concentrate and perform at work and school
. Improved health and health management over time
. Weight loss

About St. Mark’s Hospital Sleep Center
Our board-certified sleep specialists provide a thorough medical evaluation that can help identify the source of sleep-related problems. Registered technologists use the latest in state-of-the-art equipment while conducting sleep studies at our center. The home-like atmosphere as St. Mark’s Hospital Sleep Center is designed to help patients feel as comfortable as possible during a sleep study. Our Private patient rooms feature in-suite bathrooms with showers, televisions, and telephones.
To learn more about how the St. Mark’s Sleep Center can help you start sleeping better, call us today at 801-268-7770, or visit

Add comment