St. Joseph Medical Center Webster Sleep Center
St. Joseph Medical Center Webster Sleep Center is a sleep disorder treatment facility that provides professional sleep studies for adults. Our mission is to decrease the risk of medical and psychological complications associated with sleep disorders, thereby improving your quality of life. Our multi-disciplinary team of physicians is led by a board-certified sleep specialist who has more than a decade of experience in diagnosing and managing the gamut of sleep disorders.
About Our Technicians
All of our sleep technicians are Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGT) and qualified to monitor patients. Each technician has been carefully trained to provide professional and excellent care. Using the latest technology, our sleep technicians effectively monitor patients regularly throughout the course of each sleep study. At each step of the process, our patients know they are in good hands.
Types of Studies
St. Joseph Medical Center Webster Sleep Center has the capability of providing a range of sleep studies as necessitated by the patient’s specific sleep complaints and circumstances.
Most of the sleep studies are performed as outpatient procedures at Clear Lake Sleep Center. All of our sleep rooms are private and have adjoining full bathrooms. Some patients may be required to have home sleep testing. Usually, this is dictated by a patient’s insurance company. Also, if clinically indicated, an in-patient study can be ordered and the patient will be monitored in the hospital.
During the study, you will be monitored. There will be digital video recordings of you sleeping. These video recordings are completely confidential as all data is being collected on patients at the St. Joseph Medical Center Webster Sleep Center. Please note: it’s not possible to obtain your video records because it requires a special software program.
- Nocturnal Polysomnogram (NPSG) – A nocturnal polysomnogram is an overnight test of sleep cycles and stages through the use of continuous recordings of brain waves, the electrical activity of muscles, eye movement, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, and heart rhythm.
- CPAP Titration – A medical device, worn on the head, that helps in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, a very common sleep disorder that affects millions of men and women in the U.S.
- Split Study – During the first half of the night, the technician performs the NPSG, your sleep is checked to determine whether you have sleep apnea and if so, the severity will be determined. If the severity meets the protocol guidelines, during the second half of the night, you may be asked to use the CPAP machine. Air will flow through a mask while you sleep. A technician will adjust the settings on the machine so the flow of air is just right for you. These are the settings you will use if asked to use a CPAP machine at home.
- Home Sleep Study – This is a simple device that you take home and wear to bed. You will bring it back to the clinic the next day, and we can evaluate your data, obtain a diagnosis and discuss treatment options. To undergo a sleep study at home, patients are evaluated by our medical staff and sent home with a portable device that is worn to bed for one night. The simple device fits on your wrist like a watch and connects to the fingertips. You simply push a button and enjoy a good nights’ sleep.
Types of Treatments
Your treatment will depend on the type of sleep disorder you have and its severity. Your sleep medicine specialist may determine that an underlying condition is disrupting your sleep, and once it is treated, you will be able to get the rest you need. Treating even mild sleep disorders can significantly improve the quality of your life.
Student Sleep: Setting students up for success
As families prepare for students to go back to school, it’s the ideal time to get back on track with healthy sleep habits. Student Sleep Health Week is an opportunity to reset sleep routines and set your family up for a successful year.
When students get the sleep they need, it has a positive impact in the classroom. However, more than half of American parents say their children or teens are not getting enough sleep, according to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
The survey highlighted insights surrounding student sleep health, including:
- Students do not get enough sleep on school nights. More than half of parents (57%) with school-age children say that they have a child or teen who does not get enough sleep on school nights.
- There are many barriers to students getting healthy sleep. According to 90% of parents, homework and early school start times are the top culprits impacting students’ sleep on school nights.
- COVID-19 is impacting sleep. Four out of 10 parents acknowledge that their children’s bedtime and/or waketime consistency were affected by remote learning last spring.
- Sleep has an impact on students’ overall health and well-being. Nine out of 10 parents acknowledge that sleep impacts their children’s mood, and 93% understand its correlation to performance in school.
Sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle, along with nutrition and exercise. It is critical to the health and well-being of students of all ages.
Students who get the recommended hours of sleep regularly tend to experience better outcomes, including improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Healthy sleep also helps students:
- Excel in the classroom by maximizing attention, memory, and learning abilities
- Perform better in sports by being faster, stronger, and more accurate
- Feel their best and have a more optimistic attitude toward life
- Look their best and maintain a healthy weight
- Have fun and enjoy life by making better decisions and staying safe
No matter where classes are held this school year — whether in-person, online, or in a hybrid format — it is important that students maintain a consistent sleep schedule to excel in both their studies and activities. Source sleepeducation.org
Our Sleep Center Director
Dr. Mahmood O.
Pulmonary & Critical Care
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by a disruption in the airflow of the nose and mouth, which initiates periodic episodes of non-breathing during sleep. Usually accompanied by snoring, this disorder causes the sleeper to repeatedly wake up and go back to sleep again. Since obstructive sleep apnea diminishes sleep time, the sleeper awakens with a weariness that greatly influences their actions throughout the day.
Obstructive sleep apnea can also result in an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and in some serious circumstances, death.
- Choking, gasping, or snorting during sleep
- Recurrent pauses in breathing during sleep
- Frequently waking up throughout the night
- Day-time sleepiness despite adequate sleep time
- Headaches and fatigue upon awakening
The goal of treatment is to restore airflow to your throat while you sleep. This will help reduce daytime sleepiness. Currently, there are no medications to treat sleep apnea but there are several types of treatment that are effective.
If you have mild sleep apnea, some changes in your daily activities may help lessen the symptoms.
- Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy. They make it harder for your throat to stay open while you sleep.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight. Even a little weight loss can lessen symptoms.
- To help keep your throat open, sleep on your side instead of your back. You can purchase special pillows or shirts that help prevent you from sleeping on your back.
- Stop smoking.
If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea, your sleep medicine specialist may recommend a mouth guard, sometimes called an oral appliance. The mouthpiece will help adjust your lower jaw and tongue position to assist in keeping your airways open while you sleep. A dentist or orthodontist can make a custom-fitted plastic mouthguard.
In adults, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. Most patients feel much better once CPAP treatment is underway. A CPAP machine is one where a mask that fits over your mouth and nose or over just your nose is connected through a tube to a quiet machine that gently blows air into your throat. This stops your airways from becoming narrowed or blocked.
Before CPAP treatment is rendered, a sleep study will be conducted to determine the appropriate airflow settings required to open your airways. The CPAP equipment will be set up in your home and after the initial setup, you will occasionally have the CPAP and sleep mask adjusted to make sure airflow is sufficient. Side effects of CPAP treatment include a dry or stuffy nose, irritated skin or sore eyes, or stomach bloating. If you have these symptoms, please contact your sleep specialist who will make adjustments to the CPAP machine and mask.
In some cases, your sleep medicine specialist may recommend surgery. Surgery is performed to widen breathing passages. It usually involves removing, shrinking, or stiffening excess tissue in the mouth and throat or resetting the lower jaw. The type of surgery recommended and how well it works, depending on the cause of the sleep apnea.
A chronic neurological disorder, narcolepsy impairs the process of regulating sleep patterns in the central nervous system, therefore disrupting the ability to stay awake or fall asleep. It is the second-leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness after obstructive sleep apnea. Evidence suggests that the condition is genetic.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Uncontrollable periods of sleep during the day
- Loss of muscle control during the day
- Hallucinations while falling asleep or waking
- Sleep paralysis
- Automatic muscle behavior
While there is no known cure for narcolepsy, medications, lifestyle changes and other therapies can help relieve many of your symptoms. Treatment depends on the type and severity of symptoms. Our sleep medicine specialist will develop and oversee a treatment plan that is right for you.
You may be prescribed one or more medications to treat narcolepsy symptoms. These may include:
- Stimulants to ease daytime sleepiness and raise your alertness.
- Medication to help make up for low levels of hypocretin in your brain. (Hypocretin is a chemical that helps control levels of wakefulness.)
- Medication to help you sleep at night.
- Medication to treat depression that also helps prevent cataplexy, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
Lifestyle changes may also help relieve some narcolepsy symptoms. You will be taught to develop good sleep and health habits including:
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Doing something relaxing before bedtime, such as taking a warm bath.
- Keeping your bedroom or sleeping area quiet, comfortable, dark, and free from distractions.
- Exercising regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime.
- Consulting your physician before taking any over-the-counter medications.
- For several hours before bedtime, avoiding large meals, tobacco, alcohol, chocolate, and drinks that contain caffeine.
- Taking short naps during the daytime.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)
PLMD is characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements during sleep, ranging from a small amount in the toes to wild flailing of all four limbs. More common in the legs than the arms, these movements accumulate into episodes that last from a few minutes to several hours.
- Various levels of flexing and twitching of the muscles and limbs during sleep. (as observed by bed partners)
- Partial or full awakenings that disrupt sleep
- Irritation or uncomfortable sensations upon going to sleep, or after awakening during the night
- Restless sleep
- Hot or cold feet in the morning
If another underlying disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea causes your symptoms, your sleep medicine specialist will address it so as to decrease the severity of your symptoms. If necessary, your sleep specialist may prescribe a medication that is also used to treat RLS (see Treatment of RLS).
Treatment is administered according to the severity of the symptoms, the level of relief experienced with the medication, and any potential side effects experienced by the patient.
- Avoid caffeine–Caffeine can make PLMD worse so avoid caffeinated products (e.g., coffee, tea, cola, some non-cola pops [like Mountain Dew], energy drinks, chocolates, and some medications [Excedrin ®]).
- Check iron level–Your physician may wish to check your iron and folic acid levels. Low levels of these nutrients can contribute to PLMD symptoms.
- Take medications–Several different types of drugs that play a role in regulating muscle movements can be tried as a last choice in severe cases. Your sleep specialist will determine when it is medically necessary and discuss the treatment options with you.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for a reasonable amount of time. This disorder is not defined by the amount of sleep one gets nor how quickly one falls asleep, but by the quality of sleep achieved.
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking frequently during the night or early morning
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Feeling exhausted after sleep
- Daytime tiredness and lack of energy
- Inability to concentrate
If you suffer from ongoing or chronic insomnia, a sleep medicine physician can help. A sleep medicine physician has additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. He or she can help determine if there is an underlying medical cause of your insomnia. There are a variety of effective treatments for both short and long-term insomnia.
Lifestyle changes often can help relieve short-term insomnia. See our guide to good sleep habits.
A type of counseling called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help target the thoughts and actions that may be disrupting your sleep. You will be encouraged to develop good sleep habits and to use techniques to relieve sleep anxiety. Therapy usually takes two to three months. During therapy, you may:
- Undergo relaxation training and biofeedback to reduce anxiety.
- Work to replace sleep anxiety with more positive thinking and learn what to do if you can’t sleep.
- Talk with a therapist to help you understand why your mind races when you try to sleep and learning techniques to help you settle down.
- Work with your therapist to develop a sleep schedule that ultimately results in a full night of sleep.
CBT works as well as a prescription medicine for many people who have chronic insomnia and it may provide better long-term relief than medication alone.
Many prescription medicines are used to treat insomnia but they are not for everyone. Some medications have side effects including sleepwalking, sleep eating, or making you feel groggy the next morning. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and side effects of insomnia medicines. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy may be more effective than medication. If depression is causing insomnia, an antidepressant drug may be combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products claim to treat insomnia and include melatonin, L-tryptophan supplements, and valerian teas or extracts. Some products that contain antihistamines are marketed as sleep aids and while they make you sleepy, they pose risks. Talk to your doctor before regularly taking sleep aids. Over-the-counter (OTC) products may not offer the best treatment for your insomnia. Talk to your doctor about your insomnia. Or, ask for a referral to a sleep specialist, if you have ongoing insomnia.