A Good Night

Even a place where you're going to be asleep much of the time can benefit from a little renovation now and then.

Such is the case with Mary Greeley's Sleep Disorders Center. The rooms where patients stay overnight for evaluations have been refreshed with soothing new colors, carpet, and blinds. 

"We want to have a homey feel," said Tammy Jarnagin, director of Respiratory Care. "These renovations provide an environment that is comfortable to our patients and ensure a quality test."

There's some science behind these interior design changes. The National Sleep Foundation suggests creating an environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool for healthy sleep.

A Diverse Disorder

Because sleep disorders come in many different forms, even creating the ideal setting for sleep might not be enough for people suffering from a sleep disorder.

Many patients are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which a person may quit breathing for short periods of time during sleep due to an obstructed airway.

Insomniacs have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Hypersomniacs are excessively sleepy. People who suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), night terrors, sleepwalking, or teeth grinding may fail to get enough quality sleep, which has consequences during their waking lives.

Sleep affects mood, learning, memory, physical performance, immunity, and more. Insufficient sleep is associated with numerous chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It can also result in accidents causing injury and disability.

While You Sleep

The Sleep Disorders Center at Mary Greeley Medical Center has been accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine since 1996 and is the only accredited program in Ames.

The Sleep Disorders Center performs a variety of tests to diagnose sleep disorders. During a full evaluation, small electrodes are attached to the patient's scalp and face in order to monitor brain waves and heart rate. Small sensors are taped near the nose and mouth, and two belts around the chest and abdomen monitor breathing. Another sensor is clipped on the finger to monitor blood oxygen levels. Patients believed to have obstructive sleep apnea try on various masks for subsequent treatment.

All sleep studies are evaluated by credentialed polysonography technicians, and results are interpreted by board-certified physicians. The center has access to neurologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) and psychologists to assist primary care providers in an individual plan to treat sleep disorders.

Patients tested in the fresh soothing atmosphere of the sleep laboratory can begin to rest easy: with the expertise of Mary Greeley's Sleep Disorders Center, relief and a good night's sleep are within reach.