Sleep Disorders Center at Sky Ridge Medical Center
At Sky Ridge's Sleep Disorders Center, our sleep medicine specialists work closely with each patient to accurately diagnose and properly treat sleep problems. We focus on helping children ages 8 to 18 and adults get back to sleeping safely and comfortably.
Sky Ridge's sleep center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
To schedule an appointment, please talk with your primary care physician or call us at (720) 225-3100.
Sleep studies are painless and are conducted so sleep medicine specialists can identify what is causing your sleep problem. During a sleep study, our specialists monitor electronic sensors attached to your body while you sleep to analyze up to 25 continuous measurements, including heart activity, breathing, oxygen level and brain activity. This data tells them what is causing your sleeping issue and allows them to devise the right treatment plan so you can get back to sleeping normally.
Sleep disorders we treat
We diagnose and treat a full range of issues and problems disrupting sleep, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)/heartburn/acid reflux
- Nasal polyps
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)/periodic limb movement disorder/nocturnal myoclonus
- Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting more than 20 million Americans from all age groups. This disorder becomes even more prevalent as we age—in fact, more than 40 percent of people over age 65 have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is also one of the most dangerous sleep disorders, as its effects can lead to other major health problems. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, respiratory failure, heart problems, obesity, impotence and even sudden death.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which you stop breathing for ten seconds or more while you are sleeping because the muscles and tissues around your throat relax and block air from passing through. You may wake up many times during the night to catch your breath, feel tired and sleepy the next day and have a hard time doing your usual activities. Having a large tongue or neck, a small chin or nose problems increases your risk of having OSA. Being overweight or having high blood pressure may also increase your risk.
A sleep study can help determine if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Having OSA treated will help you sleep better and stay awake and alert during the day. It may also lower your blood pressure and help reduce your risk of having brain and heart problems.
Preventing obstructive sleep apnea
- Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks or taking sedative medicines before sleeping, which cause muscles and tissues around your throat to relax and sag, blocking the airflow to your lungs.
- Lose weight. Losing weight will decrease the size of tissues around your throat. This may help widen your air passages and let air pass more easily through. Ask your caregiver about your ideal weight and steps you can take to reach and maintain that weight.
- Sleep on your side or use special pillows designed to prevent OSA. This prevents your tongue or other tissues from falling into your throat and blocking the air. You can also try raising the head of your bed.
Healthy sleep habits in children
Is your child not paying attention in school, becoming unruly or performing poorly in his or her class work? Behavioral problems, crankiness and hyperactivity can sometimes be attributed to poor sleep habits.
"Adults are not the only ones who suffer from a poor night's sleep," says Dawn Stanley, MD, medical director of the Sky Ridge Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center. "In fact, more children are experiencing sleep issues than ever before."
As adults, we know the impact that lack of sleep has on us and how it contributes to overall health-related illness. "When children sleep poorly, it often presents as hyperactivity, poor school performance and behavior issues," says Dr. Stanley.
Tips to help your children get better sleep
Dr. Stanley offers these tips to help establish healthy sleep habits for your children:
- Develop a realistic attitude. Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force. The best you can do is to create a sleep-friendly environment and try, try and try again.
- Establish consistent bedtime rituals. For example, brush teeth, put on pajamas, read, listen to quiet music or do other quiet activities. After you have given your undivided attention for at least 20 to 30 minutes, stick to the allotted bedtime. Children function best when they have a routine and a sense of order.
- Make sure kids fall asleep on their own, in their own beds.
- Put them to sleep in a dark, quiet and cool room. Low lights and fans or other soft white noise can be helpful. Around 68 to 70 degrees is preferable.
- Have a regular wake-up time — even on the weekends.
- Avoid large amounts of liquid before bedtime. A light snack is OK.
- Set predictable and consistent nap routines; good nappers tend to be good sleepers.
"The key is to know when to seek help, " notes Dr. Stanley. "Snoring is NOT normal in children. If your child is snoring or exhibits behavioral problems such as daytime sleepiness or hyperactivity, you should talk to your doctor to possibly schedule a sleep study."
Do you need a primary care physician?
Sky Ridge offers a free, confidential physician referral program to help you establish a relationship with a primary care physician. Please call (720) 225-5DOC (5362) Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or you may find a physician online.