Patients who have difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep are often referred to a sleep disorders center. At the center, doctors and technologists work with the patient to define the exact cause of the sleep related problem. As part of the diagnostic process, patients are often required to sleep at the center. A series of monitors are connected to the patient, and they are recorded and observed during the night. The qualifications of the staff, equipment, association with local hospitals, and reputation are all important items to review when choosing the best sleep disorders center.
Although all interruptions to normal sleep patterns are disturbing to the patient, there are various levels of priority among sleep disorder professionals. Any disorder that interferes with breathing, obtaining a minimum amount of sleep on a recurring basis, or causes behavior that is physically harmful is considered high priority. Annoying or irritating sleep disorders, such as grinding of the teeth or restless leg are important, but not cause for immediate concern.
The primary purpose of a sleep disorders clinic is to create a central location for access to sleep disorder experts and related professionals. This type of clinic is typically found in a large city center, with doctors from the surrounding area referring patients with recurring sleep difficulties to the center for evaluation. As a result, the qualification of the staff is critical. Take the time to read the biographies of the physicians who work at the sleep disorders center. They should have a combination of academic credentials and related work experience, specifically related to sleep disorders.
Various monitoring and recording equipment is used in a sleep disorders center. The quality of the equipment is directly related to the accuracy of the results. Even a small change in heart rate, oxygen level, or brain activity can indicate the root cause of the sleep disorder or assist in the evaluation of the treatment plan. Although all the equipment does not need to be new, it should all be in good working order, regularly serviced, and replaced on a schedule.
Check the list of hospitals, universities, and research institutes that the sleep disorders center is affiliated or associated with. The best centers participate in training and research programs, as they have the staff expertise, equipment, and resources to support this type of activity. Avoid any center that is not affiliated with at least one local hospital.
Reputation is very important and a center that is professionally run, provides quality services, and assists patients will have an excellent reputation. As a rule, people who have received successful treatment for their sleep disorders are very vocal with their appreciation and referral to other patients. Talk with your doctor or join a sleep disorders support group to find out about the experiences of other people.