Sleep Medicine

Find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day? Ever have a family member mention your snoring habits? Many people have sleep disorders which can typically be easily addressed to help everyone in the household rest more comfortably.

Spencer Hospital performs overnight sleep studies to see if a person has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  Overnight sleep studies are offered at Spencer Hospital through a contract with Somnitech professionals of Sioux Falls. During a study, the patient is connected to monitoring equipment and is monitored sleeping throughout a specified time period. 

Frequent Sleep Disorders

Snoring and Sleep Apnea (brief pauses of breathing during sleep) - Often associated with loud snoring, snorting and gasping for breath. Sleep apnea can result in daytime sleepiness, depressions, and cardiovascular problems.
Hypersomnolence (struggling to stay awake during the day) - Reduced productivity at school or work; memory or concentration problems.
Narcolepsy (sleep attacks) - Sudden muscular weakness in response to strong emotion which may include brief paralyses upon falling asleep or waking up.
Insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) - Waking earlier than desired. Insomnia can be caused by a number of medical or behavioral factors such as stress, tension, shift-work or poor sleep habits.
Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (uncomfortable sensations in the legs near sleep time) - Sometimes described as a creepy crawly feeling. Legs and arms may move or jerk involuntarily during sleep.
Parasomnias such as Sleepwalking, Night Terrors, Sleep Related Violence, Sleep Eating - These are unwanted behaviors that occur when the brain is partially asleep.

“Apnea” means cessation of breathing. When a person has sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked repeatedly during the night and breathing temporarily ceases.

The sleepiness itself is dangerous; accidents often occur when people with untreated apnea doze off while driving or operating heavy equipment. Snoring and sleep apnea rarely go away on their own; however, they can be successfully treated.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Loud Snoring: The person may alternate between snoring very loudly and being very quiet. Periods of silence may be followed by gasps or snorting.
  • Observed pauses in breathing: The sleeping partner may notice that the sufferer has temporarily stopped breathing.
  • Excessive sleepiness: May fall asleep while watching TV, reading, at meetings, or driving. The person may wake up tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
  • Trouble concentrating or forgetfulness: This can impact relationships as well as performance at work.
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings and urination.
  • Irritability, short temper, lack of energy, depression, or other mood changes.
  • Restlessness at night: The sufferer may toss and turn or thrash about the bed.
  • Dry mouth.

What causes snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Simply put, a snore is the sound of an obstructed airway. Obstructive sleep apnea is defined when the sufferer’s airway has enough obstruction to cause pauses in breathing. These pauses in breathing can cause blood oxygen levels to drop, sleep to be interrupted, changes in heart rate, and other physiological disturbances during sleep.

Physical and Mechanical Treatments

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure  (CPAP): This treatment involves wearing a mask that supplies a steady stream of air through the nose during sleep. The mask helps prevent airway restriction or collapse, and brings an end to the snoring, gasping, and interrupted sleep.
  • Dental Appliances: These appliances are used to open your airways by bringing your lower jaw or tongue forward during sleep.
  • Surgery: Surgical procedures are used to increase the size of your airway by removing tissue.
  • Oxygen: A narrow tube runs from an oxygen source to your nose.
  • Other treatments: Losing weight, sleeping on your side, and eliminating the use of alcohol and tobacco can improve OSA. 

Please contact your family provider if you have questions or concerns about Sleep Apnea.   Evaluation is required and criteria met to get a sleep study ordered.   

Respiratory Products

Avera Home Medical Equipment of Spencer Hospital provides retail products and rental equipment, including CPAP units, to those caring for themselves or a loved one at home.