Why is sleep so important?
Everyone has an occasional restless night’s sleep. However, a continuous lack of quality sleep can adversely affect virtually every aspect of health. Poor sleep may reduce your ability to learn, think and pay attention to details. It can increase your risk of accidental injury while driving or operating machinery.
In addition, studies have shown that sleep is essential for the normal functioning of your body’s immune system and your ability to fight disease and sickness. Sleep is essential for you to function normally both physically and mentally.
How do I know if I should be tested for a sleep disorder?
If you or a loved one has one of the following signs, it may indicate a sleep disorder and should be evaluated by a physician:
- Habitual loud snoring, especially when associated with pauses or snorting noises.
- Frequent brief choking, awakening with gasping or shortness of breath.
- Awakening with a headache.
- Persistent sleepiness when awake or episodes of falling asleep unintentionally.
- Persistent fatigue.
- Persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep.
- An urge to keep moving the legs at bedtime or a rhythmic twitching of the legs after falling asleep.
- Unusual behaviors during sleep such as sleepwalking.
Why should I choose the Sleep Medicine Center to determine if I have a sleep problem?
A sleep problem can be the result of a combination of several behaviors or medical conditions that you are unaware of and that contribute to a lack of quality sleep. The Sleep Medicine Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. That means that we have specialists trained in pulmonary (lung) and critical care, neurology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat disorders) and psychology that work together in the diagnosis of your sleep problem. In this way, we are able to approach all of the underlying problems to ensure the best outcome for you.
Do I need a physician’s referral to get tested?
The Sleep Center evaluates patients referred by their primary care physician or another specialist. We also see self-referred patients. Many insurance companies, however, will require a referral from a primary care physician. You should contact your health insurance provider for the specific requirements for a specialist consultation and testing.
Is a sleep study covered by my insurance?
Most health insurance plans cover the consultation appointment and the sleep study testing, if indicated. You should contact your insurance company directly for specific details of coverage provisions. At the present time, Washington University Sleep Medicine Center is not a contracted provider for the following insurance companies: Blue Choice HMO (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), GHP Advantra Gold and GHP Advantra PPO. We are providers for other Blue Cross and GHP plans.
*Patients without insurance or desiring self-payment will be considered on a case by case basis. Payment plans will be arranged prior to appointments in these cases.
Is the sleep study painful?
The sleep study is not painful, but may cause some minor discomfort and feel awkward when you are initially trying to fall asleep. Most patients, however, are able to sleep comfortably during the testing. The all-night polysomnogram involves the attachment of electrodes by paste or tape on various parts of the body to monitor your sleep. Other surface sensors are also placed to measure breathing and movements.
Can I bring my own pillow?
You are encouraged to bring whatever will make you feel most comfortable to stay overnight, including a pair of loose fitting pajamas. Many people bring their own pillows and/or blankets. In special cases caregivers are allowed to spend the night at the center, but special arrangements must be made by the physician in advance of the study. Relatives or those visiting from outside of the St. Louis area may want to stay at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Pets are not allowed at the center.
For a consultation appointment call our office at 314-362-4342