Sleep Care Centers/Sleep Disorders
Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
Saint Elizabeth Campus
Sleep Disorders Center
1431 North Claremont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
The Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (SMEMC) Sleep Disorders Center is a member of Sleep Diagnostics Center, a network of sleep disorders centers throughout Chicago. The Center offers patients innovative and traditional options for the treatment of sleep disorders. We also offer patients and physicians state-of-the-art technology and a comprehensive evaluation in sleep disorders medicine.
Sleeping problems are a fact of modern life. According to estimates, one out of three Americans has trouble falling asleep, or is excessively sleepy during the day. A good night's sleep restores energy to the body and revitalizes the brain. Sleep disorders not only affect your physical and emotional health, but also your appetite, your social relationships, your sexual behaviors and your work performance.
Although sleep disorders affect millions of people, most don't recognize the symptoms. Even fewer realize that, once detected, most sleep disorders can be corrected. We can help you.
What are sleep disorders?
A sleep disorder is any condition that interrupts normal sleep-wake patterns. All of the sleep disorders described below can be evaluated and effectively treated. Sleep disorders are classified into four broad categories. The first describes complaints of an inability to initiate and/or maintain sleep (insomnia). The second category focuses on inappropriate daytime sleepiness and reduced alertness (narcolepsy and sleep apnea). Category three refers to disruptions of biological rhythms, namely the inappropriate timing of the sleep/wake system; the patient's sleep/wake schedule does not conform to socially accepted times for sleeping and for wakefulness. The last category, the parasomnias, classifies events that occur during sleep that are inappropriate, for example, bedwetting, sleep talking, sleepwalking, night terrors, etc.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Sleep apnea refers to non-breathing episodes during sleep, occurring as frequently as several hundred times per night. Loud, irregular snoring occurs as the person attempts to breathe at the end of each apneic episode. Although the individual may have had a full night of sleep, he still feels tired during the day.
This surprisingly common sleep disorder is an illness that can progress in severity and become life-threatening if not detected and properly treated. Over 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Although it seems to be more common in middle-age men and affects 40 percent of all people over 60 years of age, anyone at any age may develop sleep apnea.
A routine medical examination cannot reveal the main symptoms of this illness because the patient's respiration remains normal while awake. Proper diagnosis of the severity and type of sleep apnea can only be determined through special monitoring of the individual's sleep in a sleep laboratory, which uses highly sensitive, technical equipment.
Sleep apnea can develop into life threatening health problems. During apneic episodes, the oxygen content of the blood decreases, causing blood pressure to rise sharply and the heart to slow down or stop. Sleep apnea can cause personality changes, morning headaches, hypertension, irregular heart rhythm, impotence and even death.
Symptoms that no amount of sleep will cure
Very often a person suffering from sleep apnea may not be aware of his loud snoring and breathing irregularities during sleep. The spouse is usually the first to recognize the symptoms and is disturbed during the night by loud snoring or restless movements of the bed partner. The person may only recognize that he is excessively tired during the day, even though he slept through the night.
Symptoms while asleep
- Loud irregular snoring, snorting or gasping for breath
- Sudden body movements before the person starts to breathe again
- Excessive sweating during sleep
- Irregular pounding or beating of the heart when gasping for breath
Symptoms while awake
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue
- Complaints of insomnia or lack of restful sleep
- Rapid weight gain sometimes to the point of obesity
- Confusion or brief memory loss upon awakening
- Unexplained morning headache
- High blood pressure
- Personality changes
Sleep apnea can generally be treated very effectively once properly diagnosed and categorized as to type and severity.
Narcolepsy is also a common problem that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable sleep episodes during the day that interfere with activities at work or school. Other symptoms patients may experience are vivid nightmares or hallucinations at the onset of sleep, temporary paralysis of arms and legs when falling asleep or sudden muscle weakness during moments of intense emotional such as anger or excitement.
People with insomnia have chronic problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. This may be due to a number of causes, the most well-known of which are psychological problems such as stress or depression. However, insomnia may have other causes such as breathing difficulties or involuntary muscle movements.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
The notable symptom of this disorder, also referred to as nocturnal myoclonus, is the repetitive kicking, jerking or flexing of arms or legs throughout the night due to involuntary muscle contractions. Patients often experience a crawling sensation or a restless feeling in the legs when first going to bed. It can lead to the inability to fall asleep and remain asleep.
Other Sleep Disorders
Other sleep problems may be the result of:
- Chronic respiratory problems or lung diseases which can worsen during sleep, greatly reducing the oxygen level in the blood.
- Significant changes in your sleep-wake schedule, such as those due to shift work or jet lag.
- Nightmares or night terrors. Nightmares are frightening dreams, which can be recalled later. They may occur at any age. For adults, frightening dreams may be related to psychological factors. Night terrors, on the other hand, cannot be recalled in the morning and are most common in children.
Indications of Sleep Disorders
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Depression, reduced sense of well-being
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Leg cramps or continuous, uncontrollable urge to move legs
- Difficulty learning or concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Awakening with a choking feeling or gasping for air
- Racing heartbeat during the night
- Pauses in breathing during the night
- Restlessness while sleeping
- Nighttime sweating
- Frequent awakenings
- Loss of muscle control associated with strong emotion, such as while laughing or angry
Symptoms are often reported, not by the patient, but by their bed partner. If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms regularly, you should seek the opinion of your family doctor or health care provider or call at 773-262-4110.
How the Sleep Disorders Center can help you
When you call the Sleep Disorders Center for an appointment, we will first send you a questionnaire that provides us with a sleep and medical history. We will ask you to maintain a sleep diary for several days. Click here to download the sleep diary. On your first visit, the physician will review this information with you and conduct a physical assessment.
If the physician determines a sleep study is required, you will spend one or two nights in a private, comfortable patient room that simulates the home setting. A nearby room is equipped with sophisticated equipment for monitoring sleep patterns, heart activity, blood oxygen levels and body movements. You may also be asked to stay during the day so that we may assess daytime sleepiness. The test requisition form is required for your physician to order a sleep study on your behalf. Most affiliated physicians already have this form, but for your convenience, you can download the requisition form to take to your physician.
If sleep disorders are diagnosed, it can usually be treated effectively. Our team of specialists will evaluate the results of your studies and make recommendations for treatment. Treatment may include medication, changes in daily habits or work schedules, or a simple nasal mask to relive snoring and upper airway obstruction. Your family primary care physician will manage long-term treatment of your sleep disorder.