When an individual has a sleeping disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, he may be curious to know what a sleep clinic is and what it does. It may be able to help his condition. A breathing device known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can help people with sleep apnea, but sleep clinics don’t utilize many more sophisticated machines and equipment than that other than to hook up the patient with many different electrodes and studies them with a type of electrocardiogram (EKG) machine.
What They Do
It’s essential to understand that sleep clinics don’t solve any specific problem. They’re not meant to do that. Their primary purpose is to simply collect all of the symptoms and patterns of a person’s period of nocturnal rest. These patterns and symptoms are then relayed to the physician in charge there and he interprets the results to evaluate and diagnose the underlying reason for nocturnal rest difficulties, whether its insomnia, dysomnia, or even walking during a time at night when a person should be sleeping.
Electrodes are placed on the subject’s eyes, temples, forehead, and top and back of the head, as well as on other parts of the body. They help the staff of highly trained technicians to measure different diagnostic criteria and parameters such as REM or rapid eye movement signs. Most people at these places don’t spend very much time there. Sometimes, people spend just one night, while others might be there for one to two weeks at the longest.
Sleeping is an intricate science in and of itself and its mechanism of action is still not completely understood but at these centers the technicians do their best to record all of the pertinent characteristics of nocturnal sleeping patterns so that they can most fully determine all of the many possible variations in sleeping that any specific patient manifests. Trying to sleep in a foreign environment is not easy. But some patients do it much easier than others. Many though find it impossible to drift off especially if they’re not given any aids or pills to help drift off for the night.
This can be problematic, but the subject eventually does indeed drift off so he can be thoroughly studied and evaluated for information to be prepared and given to the physician who runs the center. Many subjects don’t enjoy their stay there but since they have such sleep problems they truly do need to be there to be fully evaluated in order to be helped for the long haul. Being at one of these clinics under evaluations only benefits the patient in both the short and long term, and while there are few physicians who actually specialize in sleep disorders, the ones in charge at these clinics can definitely help the individual out once he leaves the facilities.
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