PHILADELPHIA, PA - At some point during the year, one-third of the population will experience a sleeping problem. Some will suffer serious problems. If a sleeping problem is disturbing you, your spouse, or other family member, or has persisted for more than a month, it may be time to seek help.
The Sleep Medicine Centers provide complete diagnostic and treatment services for all types of sleep disorders. They are staffed by an expert team of sleep specialists headed by licensed psychologist Mark R. Pressman, Ph.D., who is director of the Sleep Medicine Centers. Pulmonologist Donald D. Peterson, MD, is chief of Sleep Medicine Services for Main Line Health. Both are board-certified in sleep disorders and have more than 15 years experience diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.
While there are a number of reasons that can keep someone from getting a good night’s sleep, sleep apnea syndrome is the most common. According to Dr. Pressman, a majority of patients suffer from this disorder. Major symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping, snorting, and heavy breathing followed by periods of quiet at night, and sleepiness during the day.
“Sleep Apnea most commonly strikes middle-aged, overweight men, who often have high blood pressure,” explains Dr. Pressman. “Generally it is caused by an obstruction in the soft tissues in the back of the throat which blocks breathing.”
Another sleep disorder is insomnia, usually precipitated by social stress, trauma or physical illness. “These stresses may cause patients to use sleeping pills and practice bad sleep hygiene such as reading until all hours of the night or falling asleep in front of the television,” says Dr. Peterson. Patients become very tense and anxious and lay awake at night. They fall into a terrible rut and the bed becomes a torture chamber.”
It’s not normal to feel tired day after day. Or to fall asleep when driving or during a meeting. Yet, many people live in a state of fatigue and think it’s normal. What they are experiencing is sleep deprivation.
“People have an amazing ability to adapt to unpleasantness. They lose their perspective about what is normal sleep,” says Dr. Pressman. “Many people, instead of realizing they are constantly sleep deprived, just think they have a special talent that allows them to fall asleep anytime, anywhere.”
Constant sleep deprivation also makes it harder for people to realize when they have a physical or psychological sleep disorder. “Many people will deny they have daytime sleepiness,” adds Donald D. Peterson, MD. “People who do not feel refreshed need sleep studies to determine the cause.”
During an initial consultation, every patient is seen by a pulmonologist trained in sleep disorders. Drs. Pressman and Peterson frequently consult with physicians in other psychological and medical specialties in areas that relate to sleep disorders.
If needed, a sleep study for one or more nights is scheduled in the Sleep Laboratory. Specially trained technicians monitor the heart, respiratory system, muscle activity, brain activity, oxygen level, body position and sleep movements with state-of-the-art equipment in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.
Main Line Health's Sleep Medicine Services are available at four convenient location in the Philadelphia area:
The Sleep Medicine Services of Main Line Health are fully accredited by the American Sleep Disorders Association. For more information call 484-476-3400.
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