More than 70 million Americans experience fatigue, irritability, depression, inability to concentrate, memory problems, loss of productivity and auto or workplace accidents, primarily due to sleep disorders. These symptoms can affect many aspects of your life. If left untreated, some sleep disorders may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. Many people do not seek professional help because they do not realize it is available.
UofL Health offers two specialty Sleep Centers – the UofL Physicians Sleep Center in downtown Louisville, and the UofL Health – Shelbyville Hospital Sleep Center, in eastern Metro Louisville. Both centers offer specialty diagnostic and treatment services that can help you return to a normal, productive lifestyle.
The UofL Physicians Sleep Center is a state-of-the-art sleep lab set in a private, comfortable room that simulates a home setting, encouraging restful sleep. It is fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Our team of experienced, knowledgeable professionals work together to evaluate your situation and develop a treatment plan best suited for you. Pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, certified sleep technicians and nurses comprise the center’s team of medical professionals. We are pleased to offer full diagnostic and evaluative sleep services, while collaborating closely with referring physicians to design treatment plans addressing a wide variety of sleep complaints and disorders.
Diseases & Conditions
A sleep disorder is any condition that interrupts normal sleep-wake patterns. The following are some sleep disorders that we diagnose and treat.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Snoring is a common problem, but loud snoring can be a symptom of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. People with this disorder actually stop breathing repeatedly during sleep (as many as several hundred times a night) due to complete or partial blockage of the airway by tissue in the nose or throat. The resulting decrease in oxygen levels may increase blood pressure and can cause the heart rate to slow or stop for a few seconds. The poor sleep quality caused by sleep apnea leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, memory problems and headaches.
Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable sleep episodes during the day that interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may be vivid nightmares or hallucinations at the onset of sleep, temporary paralysis of arms and legs when falling asleep or sudden muscle weakness during moments of intense emotions, such as anger or excitement.
Insomnia is a perception or complaint of inadequate or poor quality of sleep. It is characterized by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Insomnia affects people of all ages — both children and adults. Many factors contribute to insomnia, which include stress, lifestyle choices, environmental factors such as noise, and psychological factors such as depression and anxiety. Physical illness such as breathing disorders, periodic leg movements and gastro-esophageal reflux may also cause insomnia.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a condition in which individuals experience uncomfortable sensations in the legs or arms around bedtime, interfere with sleep onset, and are relieved by movement or activity. This condition can be worsened by lack of sleep, caffeine, certain medications, anemia, and pregnancy.
You may also experience sleep problems as a result of:
- Chronic respiratory problems or lung diseases, which can worsen during sleep, greatly reducing the oxygen levels in the blood.
- Significant changes in your sleep-wake schedule, such as those due to shift work or jet lag.
- Nightmares or night terrors. Nightmares are frightening dreams that can be recalled later, and can occur at any age. In adults, they may be related to psychological factors. Night terrors, on the other hand, cannot be recalled in the morning and are most common in young children.
Treatments & Services
When you call the UofL Physicians Sleep Center for an appointment, we will first send you a questionnaire, asking for your sleep and medical history. We will also ask you to maintain a sleep diary for several weeks. On your first visit, one of our board-certified physicians will review this information with you and conduct a physical exam.
If the physician determines that a sleep study is required, you will spend one or two nights in one of our private, comfortable hotel rooms, which simulates the home setting. A nearby room is equipped with sophisticated equipment for monitoring sleep stages, patterns, heart activity, blood oxygen levels and body movement. You may also be asked to stay during the day so that we may assess your daytime sleepiness.
If a sleep disorder is diagnosed, it can usually be treated effectively. The team of specialists at the UofL Physicians – Sleep Center will evaluate the results of your studies and make recommendations for treatment. Treatment may include medication, changes in daily habits or work schedules, or a simple nasal mask to relieve snoring and upper airway obstruction. You may be asked to return to the center for a follow up visit to check your progress, but your primary care physician could manage the long-term treatment of your sleep disorder.
UofL Physicians participates in most major health plans in Kentucky. Coverage may vary by specialty. Coverage limitations are dependent on the terms of your personal health plan. This is not a guarantee that all services you receive will be covered by your health plan. Review your health plan provider directory and/or consult with your plan to confirm coverage.