Sleep medicine is a medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of sleep disturbances and disorders. Sleep disorders are widespread and can have significant consequences for affected individuals as well as economic and other consequences for society. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders and another 20 to 30 million experience sleep problems intermittently. And since sleep disorders increase with aging, those suffering from chronic sleep disorders are expected to rise to 79 million and those suffering from intermittent problems to increase to 40 million by 2010, as the U.S. population ages. The costs of sleep-related problems are staggering. The commission estimated direct costs of sleeplessness at $15.9 billion annually and another $100 billion or more in indirect costs, such as litigation, property destruction, hospitalization and death resulting from sleep disorders and sleep deprivation. Experts estimate that 95 percent of those suffering from sleep disorders go undiagnosed, suffering needlessly from conditions that could be treated.
Our goal is to provide excellence in sleep medicine care. We provide consultations to adults with sleep problems including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, REM behavior sleep disorders, parasomnias and more. Click here for more information on adult sleep disorders. We offer a safe, comfortable sleeping environment to study your sleep. We read and interpret sleep studies, and provide them to your physicians in a timely manner.
A common measure of sleepiness is known as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Based on this, or other information, your doctor may order a sleep study to evaluate your sleep. A sleep study, known as polysomnography is performed in a sleep center while the patient sleeps, preferably at his or her usual sleeping time. If you have the study at a sleep center, the technician will set you up with electrodes (lightly pasted to your skin) to measure your sleep, your breathing, your heart rate, and your leg movements. We know it may not be the best night of sleep – don’t worry. Even if you do not sleep your best, we should still have enough data to interpret the findings. The sleep physician will interpret the findings on a computer looking for signs of sleep apnea, increased limb movements, disrupted sleep stages, among other issues. The results will then either be discussed with you in consultation, or sent to your primary physician to discuss with you.
A Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is performed to help diagnose narcolepsy. The MSLT is often performed during the entire day after polysomnography while the electrodes and other equipment are still in place. The patient is given nap opportunities every second hour; the test measures the number of minutes it takes from the start of a daytime nap period to the first signs of sleep. It is a measure of daytime sleepiness; it also shows whether REM sleep is achieved in a short nap, a typical indication of narcolepsy.
Laboratories for sleep-related breathing disorders, including the MLA Sleep Center, are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and are required to follow the Code of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association. The new and very detailed Standards for Accreditation are available online. Sleep disorder centers, or clinics, are accredited by the same body, whether hospital-based, university-based or “freestanding”; they are required to provide testing and treatment for all sleep disorders and to have on staff a sleep specialist who has been certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and otherwise meet similar standards.