Getting the Sleep You Need

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Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

A good night’s sleep is essential for a person’s health and mental well-being. Sleep plays an important role in memory and learning, immune function, metabolism, mood, and cardiovascular health. If you have trouble sleeping you are not alone – nearly one-third of Americans have sleep problems. 

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder characterized by a number of involuntary breathing pauses or "apneic events" during a single night's sleep. There may be as many as 20 to 30 or more events per hour. The frequent interruptions of deep, restorative sleep often lead to early morning headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles to start breathing. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea happens when air can’t flow into or out of the nose or mouth although efforts to breathe continue. Diagnosis of sleep apnea is not easy because there can be many different causes. The Lakeland Sleep Disorders and Treatment Center provides comprehensive sleep study services.

During a sleep study, a polysomnogram will take a recording of your brain and physical activity (breathing, snoring, heart rate, oxygen levels, and movements). All the data collected during the sleep study is analyzed and interpreted by trained professionals. The results of the study help to understand your sleep patterns and identify sleep problems.

Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea is important, as it may be associated with:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Increased risk of motor vehicle accident

For more information, or to make an appointment with a sleep specialist, visit www.lakelandhealth.org/sleep

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