Sleep Disorders Center


Common Sleep Disorders Questions

What types of sleep problems can be evaluated at a Sleep Disorders Center?

Any sleep-related problem can be evaluated. Some common problems include insomnia, which is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some of the more popular causes of insomnia are restless legs syndrome (RLS), medication dependency and anxiety/depression. Another common problem is daytime sleepiness, which may be a result of more serious sleep disorders, sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

What does a Sleep Disorders Evaluation include?

A sleep disorders evaluation is a medical assessment. It may begin with an office visit where the patient is interviewed by a sleep disorders specialist, or the primary care physician may simply refer the patient for overnight testing. Because the diagnosis of many sleep disorders requires that the patient sleep overnight in the laboratory, the St. Joseph Hospital Sleep Disorders Center provides sleep rooms that are private and comfortable in a hotel-like setting. Sleep patterns are monitored by applying sensors to the skin's surface which record brain waves, muscle tone, eye movements, heart rate, breathing patterns, and body movements. This monitoring process is painless, and a technologist is available all night to assure the patient's comfort.

Will my insurance cover Sleep Evaluations?

Once a primary care physician has referred the patient for a sleep disorders evaluation, overnight sleep testing is a procedure covered by most insurance plans, as well as Medicare. The St. Joseph Hospital Sleep Disorders Center assists patients by verifying their coverage and obtaining any pre-certification or authorization the insurance might require.

How long does a sleep evaluation take?

Because the evaluation requires that sleep patterns be observed at night, the patient must spend the entire night at the sleep center. Each patient receives one-on-one attention from the technologist. All sleep rooms at the St. Joseph Hospital Sleep Center contain a TV with a VCR, and patients are welcome to watch television or a video they've brought from home. Tests are generally finished by 7:00 a.m. the following morning, but if necessary, special arrangements can be made to complete the study earlier.

What should I bring to an evaluation?

Patients should bring pajamas, sweats, shorts or any loose-fitting clothing in which to sleep (no nightgowns or underwear only), a bathrobe and slippers. Any toiletry items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, razor, or shampoo may also be included. Patients are instructed to also bring a favorite pillow or blanket they may have. Showers (and towels) are available in the morning if desired.

Can I take my usual medications?

All medications being taken should first be discussed with a physician before making an appointment for a sleep study. Certain medications, such as sleeping pills, stimulants, anti-histamines and drugs for anxiety and depression can interfere with the test results, and may need to be discontinued prior to the evaluation. However, unless instructed otherwise by a physician, patients should continue to take all their medications on the day and night of the sleep test.