Education & Resources

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Disorders

My snoring is disrupting my bed partner’s sleep. What can I do about it?

Snoring is relatively common, particularly in men who are middle-aged or older, but it can occur at all ages and in both sexes. Snoring implies that the upper airway is narrowed, and that the soft tissues are vibrating, making the sound. The treatment of snoring is determined by identifying the cause.

The major concern is whether this snoring is indicative of breathing problems during sleep, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, in which the airway collapses during sleep, blocking air from reaching the lungs. This might be noted as pauses in the snoring sound, sometimes associated with choking episodes during sleep. These individuals are often very sleepy during the day because of the poor quality of sleep.

Factors which can contribute to snoring include nasal and/or sinus congestion, use of sedative medications or alcohol near bedtime, and being overweight. Changing these factors can improve snoring in many people, but are sometimes not sufficient to bring satisfactory results. Severe snoring can sometimes benefit from upper airway surgery.

Sleep apnea can have serious effects on cardiac function. warning sound. If you or your bed partner notice any of the above findings, ask your physician about evaluating this at the Voltmer Sleep Center. Effective treatments are available.

Why am I so sleepy during the day, even though I get 6-8 hours of sleep every night?

First of all, sleeping six (6) hours is not enough for most people. To answer this question of sleep quantity, you should try going to bed 1-2 hours earlier for at least four nights in a row to pay back any "sleep debt" that you may have accumulated. Sleep problems such as sleep apnea and periodic leg movements can result in un-refreshing sleep.

If this sleep schedule does not improve your daytime alertness, it may be necessary to have a sleep study done at Hoag Sleep Disorders Center to evaluate the quality of your sleep.

Why do I often have trouble falling back to sleep when I awaken at night?

It is normal to awaken several times at night. Many people simply roll over in bed or make a quick trip to the bathroom, and can return to sleep easily. When stresses are occurring in one’s life, thoughts may enter your mind that make it difficult to return to sleep. Addressing those stresses during the day can result in a better quality of sleep.

Alternatively, learning techniques to keep your mind free of those stresses when you awaken at night can also be of help. It is also important to avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants before bedtime.

What can I do to "turn off my mind" so I can fall asleep at night?

It is often hard to relax at the end of a busy day. This might be helped by performing relaxation activities prior to bedtime, such as reading or listening to music or meditating. It is also important to avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants within six hours of bedtime. Some people can benefit by writing down their worries, saving them to address the next day. Persistent difficulty in falling asleep (Insomnia) can sometimes be aided by nighttime medications and/or behavior modification techniques.

Why do my legs jump and fidget, making it difficult for me to fall asleep?

This might be a symptom of Restless Leg Syndrome, an uncomfortable sensation in the legs that occurs near bedtime, often relieved simply by moving the legs. This is a common problem, and generally is not associated with any medical disorder, except that it sometimes is more common during pregnancy.

Restless Leg Syndrome is often associated with brief involuntary leg movements during sleep, called Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. The person may not be aware that his/her legs are moving during sleep. The movements can disturb the quality of sleep, leading to unrefreshing sleep and daytime sleepiness. This diagnosis generally is determined by conducting an all-night sleep study in a qualified sleep disorders center.

Sleep Disorder FAQ

Home Sleep Testing (HST) FAQs

In-Center Sleep Study FAQs

What is a sleep study?

A polysomnogram (overnight sleep study) is noninvasive, painless test that lasts generally one night. It involves recording vital signs and other physiologic variables during a night of sleep in the bedroom laboratory.

Should I do anything differently the day before my sleep study?

  • Do not take a nap the day before your sleep study.
  • Do not have caffeine, coffee or tea starting at noon on the day of your sleep study appointment.
  • On the day of your appointment you should shower and wash your hair. Clean and dry hair is necessary for the application of electrodes to your scalp. Avoid using any hair products, including conditioner, hair spray, or mousse. Refrain from using skin lotions and powders.
  • Bring any medications you may need during the night. Avoid stimulants or sedatives unless approved by your physician. Please ask the Sleep Center staff if you are unsure about how the medications you take may affect your sleep study.
  • Eat a normal evening meal before your arrival. If you normally eat a small snack before bed, you may bring one with you. No more than your usual intake of alcoholic beverages the day of your study.
  • Bring toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) and appropriate sleepwear. Sweats, shorts, cotton or flannel nightgown, or pajamas will be fine. (Please no sheer or revealing clothing).
  • For a more comfortable stay, you may also bring your own pillow & blanket, if you prefer.
  • Please leave all valuables, such as jewelry, money, etc., at home.
  • The use of line powered 120 Volt appliances are prohibited (i.e. heating blankets, space heaters, etc).

What happens after I check in?

You will be asked to complete sleep questionnaires about your sleeping habits, the day's events, medications taken, and so on.

A sleep technologist will ask you to change into your night clothes or a hospital gown. Small sensors or electrodes will then be attached to parts of your head and body using a water-soluble paste and tape. Flexible wiring is attached to the sensors, which are then connected to a central unit. If you are allergic to adhesive, please notify your tech so, we may use a skin barrier for your protection. A monitoring area is located close to your room. Once all of the sensors, electrodes, and belts are attached, the technologist will take some initial readings while you are awake. You may then read or watch TV before you are ready to go to sleep.

What happens while I am asleep?

The attached sensors monitor and record various physical activities, such as heart rhythm and rate, eye movements, muscle activity, breathing, leg movements, and blood oxygen levels. Depending on the symptoms you have described to the sleep specialist, some or all of the following will be monitored:

  • Brain activity - Multiple sensors attached to your scalp record your brain waves. This reading shows the technologist which sleep stage you are in.
  • Airflow - A sensor placed on your upper lip monitors the airflow in and out of your nose and mouth.
  • Rapid eye movements - One or two sensors placed on the head next to the eyes record rapid eye movements (REM), which are associated with dreaming.
  • Breathing - Elastic belts around your chest and stomach measure your respiratory effort.
  • Heart rate - Your heart rate and rhythm are monitored with multiple sensors attached to your chest.
  • Oxygen level - A device that measures oxygen levels, is clipped or taped to your finger. In patients with sleep apnea, this measurement can determine how severe the apnea episodes are.
  • Leg movements - Sensors are placed on your legs, usually on the shins below the knee.

One or more technologists will observe you the entire night while you sleep using an infra-red video camera. Technologists note if you snore and how loudly, or if you have periodic body movements. They also chart your sleep stages and other measurements. The next step is for you to get comfortable and go to sleep!

Some patients need to spend more than one night in the sleep lab. This will be determined by one of our sleep physicians after the sleep study results are processed and interpreted. These results will be discussed with you at your scheduled follow-up visit.

What will happen the next morning?

  • After you wake up in the morning, the technologist will remove the equipment and adhesive tape. You will also be asked to complete another questionnaire about your night's sleep.
  • You should be able to leave between 6am -7am. Unless, you are scheduled for possible MSLT testing.
  • If you are scheduled for a possible Multiple Sleep Latency Test (Daytime Nap Study), you will find out at 6am if you will need to stay for further testing. Please, read over the following information as you may stay at our center, in some cases, as late as 4pm.
  • We will supply breakfast and lunch. Special diets are available as needed. You are also welcome to bring your own food if you prefer. No caffeine is allowed during this testing process.
  • Bring any medications you may need during the day (except stimulants).
  • Bring clothing, such as a sweat suit, that is comfortable to nap in. Bring things to do (books, correspondence, laptop etc.) to keep you busy between naps.
  • No smoking is allowed inside the Sleep Center
  • On the day of the nap study you will be asked to submit a urine sample for a qualitative drug screen

How do I get the paste out of my hair/off my scalp?
The best option is to use very warm to hot water and shampoo. There are showers available in the Sleep Center.

Can I get shocked from the wires and sensors?
No. It is impossible because the electrodes and sensors detect the electrical and physical signals that you produce. There is no electricity being sent through the wires to the sensors on your body.

What if I need to go to the bathroom during my sleep study?
Don't worry - disconnecting the wires to the nearby unit is a fairly quick process and a technologist is always awake and available to help you. You only need to call out and the technologist will come in and disconnect your unit.

Will I be able to sleep during my polysomnogram?
This is a very common question. Most people doubt their ability to sleep in the lab, especially if they are unable to sleep well at home. Sleep technologists find that most patients sleep better in the lab than at home. It could be due to the fact that some people feel more secure or less distracted in the lab than at home. Some individuals are simply relieved that someone is taking an interest in their problem, it will soon be diagnosed, and they are on the road to better sleep. Even if you do not sleep well in the lab, polysomnographic testing will most likely be able to determine a great deal of information.

How much notice do I need to give if I want to cancel or reschedule my appointment?
If you need to cancel or change the sleep study appointment, please give our office a minimum of 24 hours notice, doing so would allow our office to call another patient in your place.

Insurance FAQs

Is the sleep study covered by my insurance?
As the patient, it is your responsibility to verify coverage with your insurance company. Our front desk staff can provide you with the billing code information you will need to verify your coverage. If you are HMO, You may call our office for assistance.

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Sleep Apnea FAQs

My snoring is disrupting my bed partner's sleep. What can I do about it?

Snoring is relatively common, particularly in men who are middle-aged or older, but it can occur at all ages and in both sexes. Snoring implies that the upper airway is narrowed, and that the soft tissues are vibrating, making the sound. The treatment of snoring is determined by identifying the cause.

The major concern is whether this snoring is indicative of breathing problems during sleep, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, in which the airway collapses during sleep, blocking air from reaching the lungs. This might be noted as pauses in the snoring sound, sometimes associated with choking episodes during sleep. These individuals are often very sleepy during the day because of the poor quality of sleep.

Factors which can contribute to snoring include nasal and/or sinus congestion, use of sedative medications or alcohol near bedtime, and being overweight. Changing these factors can improve snoring in many people, but are sometimes not sufficient to bring satisfactory results. Severe snoring can sometimes benefit from upper airway surgery.

Sleep apnea can have serious effects on cardiac function. warning sound. If you or your bed partner notice any of the above findings, ask your physician about evaluating this at the Voltmer Sleep Center. Effective treatments are available.