Macon County Chronicle

Sleep Lab Now Open at Macon Community Hospital

When you get out of bed in the morning, are you still tired and sleepy? If so, you may have a medical problem.

 

Sleep deprivation can leave you dragging - so let Macon Community Hospital’s sleep clinic help determine if you are suffering from an undiagnosed sleep problem.

James Hix is the sleep study technician (Polysomnographic tech) at the local hospital, and he helps diagnose sleep disorders by monitoring your sleep stages to see if your sleep patterns are disrupted and why.

“I have been in this field about four years now, and I have worked in Brentwood, Gallatin and Carthage, Tennessee,” said James Hix. “Over the years I’ve seen people from Lafayette go as far as Brentwood to get sleep studies.”

“This is a long drive, and now instead of driving out of town to get a sleep study done, you can come to Macon Community Hospital,” he continued. “We are going to study patients’ sleep patterns to see if they have sleep apnea, where your throat relaxes so much it closes, and your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.”

“When you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds, we call that an event,” explained James. “And when you have more than 5 events in an hour, you have mild sleep apnea, and 40 or more is severe.”

James says that during the first overnight stay, all they will do is watch the patient while they are in a room that has been made comfortable for sleeping. “After you get ready for bed, we will put sensors on your head, chest, and legs that are connected by wires to a computer, and we will monitor your vitals all night long to look for disruptions and what your oxygen level does. If you have enough events  we will schedule you for the second night, where I will fit you with a mask for a CPAP machine, which delivers a constant stream of air that keeps the airway passages open while you sleep. I will turn up the air pressure every time you have an event, until you have less than 5 an hour.”

The cure is the patient will have to start wearing the CPAP mask every night at home, but James says once you get the machine you will have a more restful night in your own bed. “Once the patient gets the mask and it keeps the throat from closing, their oxygen level doesn’t drop and they will stay asleep and hit REM sleep, which is vital for mental and overall well being and health.”

 “It will take getting use to the mask, usually an average of two weeks,” said James, “but it will make a big difference in a person’s life.”

This is a medical problem and if you are experiencing morning headaches, frequent waking during the night, reduced attention span, or irritability, ask your doctor if a sleep study might be right for you.

To have a sleep study you must have a physician’s referral, and proof that you insurance company will cover it. Once the data is gathered during you study, it will be sent to your doctor.

“A lot of people have been putting this off for years,” noted James, “and since there is a sleep clinic in Lafayette, they can come here, do the study and still make it home in time to get cleaned up and go to work. It is going to be convenient and that is what we like to do at Macon Community Hospital - get folks the services they need in their hometown.”

The sleep lab is also trained to diagnose insomnia, snoring, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, narcolepsy and more.

Macon Community Hospital is excited about the new sleep lab, and they hosted an open house on July 17th, at 311 College Street in Lafayette.

The sleep lab is now accepting patients. The facility is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This is a two bed sleep center and the study is from 8 p.m. till 5 a.m. For more information on taking control over restless nights, call Macon Community Hospital at 615-666-2147.

“Think a good night’s sleep is out of reach - think again!”