In recognition of this week’s National Sleep Awareness Week, Marty Millsaps - Blount Today advertising manager - recounts his recent experience in a sleep study at The Center for Sleep Medicine, located at 710 Morganton Square Drive in Maryville. The center is a partnership of Blount Memorial Hospital and East Tennessee Medical Group and is accredited by the Joint Commission.
Millsaps acknowledged that most people are intimidated by such a study and admitted that he was not looking forward to it. But his sleep patterns were inconsistent around his demanding work hours, so he decided it was time to get checked out.
Millsaps said the facility was better than he could have imagined, enabling him to relax during his monitored night’s sleep. The Center for Sleep Medicine is a 3,631-square-foot free-standing facility with six soundproof sleep study rooms, adjoining bathrooms and has many comforts of home, including satellite TV in every room.
“The facility was great,” Millsaps said. “It is kind of a ‘home away from home.’ The best way to describe it would be as a very nice hotel room with a few extras to make the stay as comfortable as possible.”
Comfort is probably the biggest worry on people’s minds - at least the minds of those considering a sleep study. But what does the actual sleep study consist of?
“You go in after dinner and do what you normally would on a regular weeknight,” Millsaps said. “Before bedtime, a tech comes in and wires you up to monitor your sleep patterns and tendencies. You are also watched and recorded on a closed-circuit TV camera that gives information that will be studied along with the readings they get from the wiring. It was not as bad as I had imagined, nor as intrusive. I actually got a pretty good night’s sleep.”
Unlike at home, Millsaps knew he had to go to bed much earlier than usual…especially since they’d wake him up at 5:30 a.m.
“They woke me up a lot earlier than I am used to getting up, so I had to try and turn off the bowl game I was watching and go to sleep a little earlier than normal,” he said.
After the sleep study is finished and the sleep specialists run an analysis on the results, patients consult with neurologist Dr. Fredric M. Radoff and/or pulmonologist Dr. Bruce Roberts, who diagnose any problems and note many other details related to a good night’s rest. The sleep center collected and reviewed more than six hours of sleep statistics about Millsaps.
“Dr. Radoff told me that I sleep better on one side and on my back,” Millsaps said. “They really break everything down, from the hours you sleep, to your best sleeping position, to how much REM sleep you receive. It was really very amazing.”
So what was Millsaps’ sleep diagnosis?
He was told he was in great physical shape and had no serious problems, except some breathing obstructions when he slept on his right side.
Millsaps received a “clean bill of sleep health.” He said the study was much easier than he first anticipated, and he credits most of it to the staff at The Center for Sleep Medicine.
“The sleep center has an excellent staff that makes you comfortable and at home even though they have a very thorough job to do,” Millsaps said.
“I talked to a couple other patients from the sleep center, and they said they never really knew exactly how tired they were during the day until they got treated for their sleep problems. They finally started getting a good night’s rest,” Millsaps said. “I would highly recommend it to anyone who feels they are having some sleep problems. Go get checked out.”
People with sleep problems often may snore loudly, wake up sweating or gasping for breath, frequently feel tired, fall asleep while driving, have difficulty controlling their emotions, have vivid nightmares, have memory problems and wake up with headaches.
For information about The Center for Sleep Medicine, call 865-380-4021, or stop by the facility. Free parking is available in a secure, well-lighted lot, just steps from the sleep center’s front door.
“The study may seem inconvenient, but it is not as bad as you think, and it definitely is well worth the sacrifice, especially if they find a problem and correct it,” Millsaps said. “After all, it’s only one night.”