Sleeper cells

| 05 Mar 2015 | 01:06

By Anya Tikka
— People with suspected sleep disorders now have a new sleep lab nearby, where they can crash for the night while diagnosticians watch over them.

Bon Secours Community Hospital's opened its sleep lab on Canal Street in Port Jervis just in time for National Sleep Awareness Week, March 2-8. The lab has three bedrooms outfitted with state-of-the-art electronic sleep monitoring equipment.

The monitors are connected to patients as they start their night, relaxing and watching TV, explained Jeff Reilly, senior vice president of operations, at the lab's opening reception. Sleep specialists analyze the data and make recommendations, he said.

"We want to let people know we’re open for business," said Reilly.

Off-site advantagesBon Secours used to provide the service at its hospital in Port Jervis, where two rooms were equipped for monitoring.

“The general consensus was that if we were off-site, we would be able to provide a better service," said Reilly. "That includes improving of the amenities, and we’ve really stepped up and decorated this place."

In addition to an extra room, the new lab is equipped with more advanced technology. One room is designed especially for bariatric patients. And at the new off-site location, hospital hubbub won't disturb sleep patients.

“Off-site is better access," Reilly said. "It’s quieter. There are no interruptions that happen in a hospital, so sleep study can go on uninterrupted. And really nice amenities."

To get into a sleep study, patients first go to their primary care physician. Sleep apnea, in which sleepers wake up gasping for air, is one condition warranting referral to a sleep lab. Obesity and snoring are also conditions that affect sleep.

Generally, the patient arrives at the lab at about 8 p.m. The study is conducted through the night, as the patient sleeps.

“There’s a camera in the room that monitors their sleep behavior," Reilly said.

In the morning the patient wakes up, showers, dresses, and goes home or to work.

Two days later, the sleep study is interpreted by a physician, who makes a diagnosis and offers treatment.

Niyan Oladipo, area sales manager of Sleep Services of America, said a patient diagnosed with sleep apnea may need a sleep apnea machine. Called CPAP, the machine keeps a person's airways open through the night so that they sleep better.

"It’s like a mask with positive air pressure in it, so when you’re breathing, it keeps your airway open and so you sleep more normally," Oladipo said.

Other treatment options include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, changing dental devices that might be interrupting the airway, or stress reduction activities like yoga.

"It’s not like going to a hospital here," said Sophie Crawford-Rosso, vice president of patient care. "It’s very homey."

Many people with sleep problems don’t realize it. Tell-tale signs include snoring, morning headaches, waking up sweating, excessive daytime sleepiness, and waking up gasping for air.

Poor sleep can adversely affect driving and other activities. The first step is to consult a physician.