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Is the Sleep Lab for you?

If you have chronic problems falling asleep, staying asleep at night, staying awake during the day, excessive snoring or breathing disturbances, the Z Sleep Diagnoztics is for you. The Lab is capable of monitoring adults as well as children, and adolescents. For additional information on sleep disorders or to schedule a sleep study, please contact us.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study requires one or more consecutive nights of sleeping in the laboratory. The Sleep Lab consists of several private rooms designed spaciously with your comfort in mind. The Lab is monitored by closed circuit televisions and microphones to assure that all sleep related activity is seen and recorded for complete evaluation. The sleep study is painless. A specially trained technician will apply sensors to the head, face, chest, stomach, and legs. Modern equipment will monitor brainwaves, eye movements, breathing, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity during sleep. These functions can be normal while the individual is awake, but abnormal during sleep. The referring physician will receive a complete sleep report, which begins with defining and diagnosing the problem and includes recommended treatment plans.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that is far more common than generally understood. First described in 1965, sleep apnea is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea, which is less common, occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common and occurs when air cannot flow into or out of the person's nose or mouth although efforts to breathe continue.

Sleep apnea occurs in all age groups and both sexes but is more common in men (it may be under diagnosed in women) and possibly young African Americans. It has been estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Four percent of middle-aged men and 2 percent of middle-aged women have sleep apnea along with excessive daytime sleepiness. People most likely to have or develop sleep apnea include those who snore loudly and also are overweight, or have high blood pressure, or have some physical abnormality in the nose, throat, or other parts of the upper airway. Sleep apnea seems to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic basis.

How is Sleep Apnea treated?

The specific therapy for sleep apnea is tailored to the individual patient based on medical history, physical examination, and the results of polysomnography. Medications are generally not effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. Oxygen is sometimes used in patients with central apnea caused by heart failure. It is not used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Physical or Mechanical Therapy

Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common effective treatment for sleep apnea. In this procedure, the patient wears a mask over the nose during sleep, and pressure from an air blower forces air through the nasal passages. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep. The pressure is constant and continuous. Nasal CPAP prevents airway closure while in use, but apnea episodes return when CPAP is stopped or it is used improperly.

Variations of the CPAP device attempt to minimize side effects that sometimes occur, such as nasal irritation and drying, facial skin irritation, abdominal bloating, mask leaks, sore eyes, and headaches. Some versions of CPAP vary the pressure to coincide with the person’s breathing pattern, and other CPAPs start with low pressure, slowly increasing it to allow the person to fall asleep before the full prescribed pressure is applied.

Dental appliances that reposition the lower jaw and the tongue have been helpful to some patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea or who snore but do not have apnea. A dentist or orthodontist is often the one to fit the patient with such a device.

Non-Specific Therapy

Behavioral changes are an important part of the treatment program, and in mild cases behavioral therapy may be all that is needed. Overweight persons can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10 percent weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients. Individuals with apnea should avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods. In some patients with mild sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using pillows and other devices that help them sleep in a side position may be helpful.

This information was adapted from Facts About Sleep Apnea, a publication of The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

Restless Legs Syndrome?

For those with restless legs syndrome (RLS), the sensation of discomfort is so acute, it can only be relieved by moving or stimulating the legs. These tingling, crawling or prickling sensations are most pronounced during inactivity, particularly while trying to fall asleep. RLS sufferers find staying asleep is a problem as well. Rubbing the legs, getting up and walking around, or taking a hot shower usually offer only temporary relief. The sensations return with the return to bed. The discomfort and sleeplessness that accompany RLS can lead to serious psychological distress and depression.

Most people with RLS also have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMS), characterized by a periodic jerking of the legs during sleep. The movements cause multiple sleep interruptions that are often so brief that the sleeper isn't aware of them, although the sleep partner may be. Unlike RLS, PLMS is not uncomfortable for the sufferer, but it can cause excessive daytime sleepiness.

RLS and PLMS are more common in people over 65. There aren't any cures for these related disorders, but a number of prescription medications are being used to treat them.


It isn't unusual to have trouble sleeping - half of Americans do. Insomnia has many causes and is often viewed as a symptom of some underlying problem, much like a fever suggests infection.

Doctors have identified three basic categories:

Transient insomnia lasts only a few nights and is usually brought on by stress, excitement, or a change in sleep timing or environment.

Short-term insomnia is poor sleep spanning two or three weeks and can be caused by ongoing stress, as well as medical or psychiatric problems. Alleviating the source will usually return sleep to normal. Recurring episodes are common.

Chronic insomnia lasts more than a month and can be related to underlying medical, behavioral or psychiatric problems, such as depression.

Insomnia's impact on waking hours can be significant and includes a decreased sense of well-being, and impaired concentration and memory.


A chronic (long-lasting) neurological (affecting the brain or nerves) disorder that involves your body's central nervous system. The central nervous system is the "highway" of nerves that carries messages from your brain to other parts of your body. For people with narcolepsy, the messages about when to sleep and when to be awake sometimes hit roadblocks or detours and arrive in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is why someone who has narcolepsy, not managed by medications, may fall asleep while eating dinner or engaged in social activities - or at times when he or she wants to be awake.

Recent discoveries indicate that people with narcolepsy lack a chemical in the brain called hypocretin, which normally stimulates arousal and helps regulate sleep. They also discovered that there is a reduction in the number of Hcrt cells or neurons that secrete hypocretin. This may be due to a degenerative process or an immune response. How this occurs is unknown.

About one in 2,000 people suffers from narcolepsy. It affects both men and women of any age, but its symptoms are usually noticed after puberty begins. For the majority of persons with narcolepsy, their first symptoms appear between the ages of 15 and 30.

What preparation is required?

Nothing special. Please try and have a normal sleep the night before your study and keep to your normal daily routine as much as possible. We request that you wash your hair and do not use any hairspray, oil or gel before your sleep study.

When do you have to be here?

Weekdays and Weekends: 7:30pm. Testing will be completed around 6:00am.

When will you know the result?

All patient results are reviewed daily. In general, your results will take about 2-5 days and will be sent to your referring Doctor.