Sleep Disorders

The enhanced Sleep Medicine program at UH Richmond Medical Center, a Campus of UH Regional Hospitals specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders in both children and adults, including insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Your primary care doctor may refer you directly to one of our Sleep Medicine specialists.

If more detailed testing is determined to be necessary, we may also recommend that you spend a night in our private, comfortable state of the art sleep lab located at Staybridge Suites in Mayfield Heights. There, your activities will be monitored as you sleep. You'll enjoy a breakfast buffet the next morning.

Once your data is interpreted by one of our board-certified sleep specialists, you can look forward to a safe treatment plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle, with the goal of giving you quality sleep, every night.

People who have sleep disorders may experience:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue or daytime drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Lost productivity
  • More frequent illnesses
  • Reduced attention, concentration and memory
  • Workplace accidents or car crashes from falling asleep on the job or behind the wheel

Snoring: An early warning signal

Loud snoring may be a signal that something is seriously wrong with breathing during sleep. Snoring indicates that the airway is not fully open, and the noise of snoring comes from the effort to force air through a narrowed passageway. For an estimated 5 in 100 people - typically overweight, middle-aged men - extremely loud snoring is the first indication of a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

The physical or neurological cause of snore… pause… gasp!

A person's muscles, including those used for breathing, relax more during sleep than during waking hours. For sleep apnea sufferers, either the throat muscles relax to dangerous levels (physical causes) or they relax to a normal degree, but the brain forgets to send a message to the muscles that control breathing (neurological causes).

  • When physical problems create this pattern, the condition is called obstructive sleep apnea.
  • When neurological problems create this pattern, the condition is called central sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The most common and severe form of apnea

With obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the base of the tongue and the uvula relax and sag, causing the airway to collapse and sometimes close completely. When this passageway sags and obstructs the airway, loud snoring is present. However, when the snoring stops or pauses, the sleeper periodically stops breathing. The lack of oxygen causes the sleeper to awaken and "gasp" for breath. This cycle may be repeated as many as 600 times per night. Pauses where breathing has stopped may last for ten seconds or more each time.

Smaller than normal jaws, large tongues, enlarged tonsils or tissues that partially block the entrance to the airway are other conditions that may cause obstructive sleep apnea.

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