Sleep Lab

Getting the Rest You Need

Sleep is a necessity. Research shows that most of us need about eight hours of quality sleep each night to rest our bodies and refresh our minds, so we can perform at our best.

But, many people have real problems with sleep. The symptoms include inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, snoring and other breathing disorders while sleeping, which can cause drowsiness when we need to be alert. Untreated, these problems can have a devastating effect on the quality of our lives, making us physically and mentally unable to deal with everyday challenges. In fact, some illnesses such as high blood pressure - even heart attacks - can be linked to certain sleep disorders.

The Chester River Hospital Center Sleep Lab specializes in diagnosing and treating people having sleep problems. 

How Does the Sleep Lab Work?

Patients are often referred to the Sleep Lab by their physician. In such an instance, the referring physician orders or performs appropriate outpatient laboratory tests such as routine blood testing, EEG, or in some cases pulmonary function testing. In many cases, an overnight sleep study, a Polysomnogram (PSG) is ordered. At the center, a PSG can be extremely valuable in diagnosing many sleep disorders. The PSG takes place overnight in the sleep recording room of the Sleep Lab. During the night, breathing, oxygen, heart rate, brain waves, eye and body movements and body position are closely monitored.

Who performs my test?

The Sleep Lab also employs technologists who are specialists in the testing process, including the unique operations of the sleep lab. Additional members of the medical staff, including pulmonologists, and surgeons also may be consulted.

What are some examples of Sleep Disorders?

Sleep Disorders are a wide range of physical and psychological conditions that keep people from getting sufficient rest. Some of the common conditions we encounter at the Sleep Lab include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Individuals with OSA snore loudly, have repeated episodes of stoppage of breathing at night due to collapse or blockage of the airway. The OSA sufferer's sleep is repeatedly interrupted causing poor sleep at night and tiredness during the day
  • Narcolepsy: Individuals with Narcolepsy have an inherited condition causing severe daytime sleepiness and falling asleep at inappropriate times.
  • Insomnia: Individuals with Insomnia have an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep.
  • Periodic Leg Movements during Sleep: Jerky or active legs while sleeping may cause interrupted sleep.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Disorders?

You should consider seeking help if you experience these symptoms:

  • Frequent difficulty falling asleep in bed at night
  • Frequent awakening during sleep
  • Heavy snoring
  • Partner says you stop breathing during sleep
  • Dozing off while driving
  • Often waking with a headache
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Difficulty concentrating at work/school
  • Profuse sweating at night
  • Leg cramps or "crawling" feeling in legs
  • Restless legs that interfere with falling asleep.

How Common is Snoring?

Surveys from Europe and the U.S. show that snoring is two to three times more common among men than among women. At the age of 20, about 15 percent of men and 5 percent of woman snore regularly. By the age of 60, the percentages rise to 60-65 percent of men and 20-30 percent of women. 

What is Sleep Apnea Syndrome?

A patient with sleep apnea may repeatedly stop breathing (apnea) for 10 to 20 seconds while asleep. This is typically caused by an airway (nose, mouth or throat) that is too narrow. Such individuals sleep poorly and feel tired and sleepy during the day. 

How Common is Sleep Apnea Syndrome?

A large percentage of patients treated at the Sleep Lab suffer from sleep apnea syndrome. Recent detailed surveys and follow-up testing in the U.S. indicate that about 4 percent of adult women and 9 percent of adult men have sleep apnea of at least a mild degree.