Disorders Program

Someone keeping you up at night?

You may be one of 70 million Americans

Did you have trouble sleeping last night? If so, you are not alone! You may be one of 70 million Americans with a sleep disorder. Untreated, a sleep disorder can put you higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, and more. Fortunately, most sleep disorders are treatable once diagnosed. Knoxville Hospital & Clinics’ Sleep Disorders Program is here to provide the tools to end your sleepless nights.

Do you have a sleep disorder?

A sleep disorder can be a very serious issue with wide-ranging implications. If not treated properly, it can lead to increased accidents, mood disorders, lowered productivity, and more.  People who suffer from sleep disorders may have symptoms of:

  • Snoring
  • Breaks and pauses in breathing while sleeping
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Urge to move legs or uncomfortable feeling in legs at night
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Reduction in concentration, memory, and attention

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your primary care provider may refer you to the KHC Sleep Disorder Clinic for further testing to determine if you have a sleep disorder.

The Sleep Disorders Program sees both adult and pediatric patients with a variety of sleep disorders.

There are many classifications of sleep disorders. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: A life-threatening disorder that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during your sleep.
  • Periodic limb movement syndrome: When people’s legs or arms jerk during sleep.
  • Restless leg syndrome: A persistent, sometimes overwhelming need to move one’s legs while resting.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty in falling and staying asleep.
  • Narcolepsy: Characterized by the brain’s inability to control its sleep/wakefulness cycle.
  • Parasomnia: Nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep talking, and bedwetting.

Sleep studies provide the answer

One of the best ways to help diagnose a potential sleep disorder is to have a sleep study, or polysomnography, an exam that allows doctors to monitor and evaluate you while you sleep.

During a sleep study, electrodes transmit and record your sleep patterns and specific information about your physical activities, such as breathing, brain waves, heart activity, and eye and muscle movements. The recording techniques are non-invasive and all electrodes are applied on the skin surface. The entire process is painless.

Some sleep studies are done in your own home; however, some are required to be done in the hospital. At KHC, for overnight sleep studies we focus on providing the comforts of home. Patients who participate in a sleep study in the KHC Sleep Disorders Clinic enjoy a private room and bathroom and a Sleep Number bed alongside state-of-the-art equipment necessary to diagnose sleep problems.

For sleep studies done at KHC, we partner with Practical Sleep Services and Melisa Coaker, MA, MD, for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

After your sleep study, the data collected is analyzed by Dr. Coaker and staff to determine the nature of your sleep disorder. It will show information about sleep and wake times, sleep stages, abnormal breathing and movements, and the amount of oxygen in your blood. Results from the study will be shared with your primary care provider and can be used to diagnose conditions such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and more.

If you have questions about the Sleep Disorders Program, contact Respiratory Therapy at 641-842-1465.

Commitment To Excellence

The Knoxville Hospital & Clinics is accredited by Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for compliance with a comprehensive set of national standards. By choosing a healthcare provider that has achieved ACHC accreditation, you can take comfort in knowing that you will receive the highest quality of care. If you have any concerns about the product or service that you received from the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, you may contact ACHC directly at (855) 937-2242.

ACHC Accredited

Preparing for the Sleep Study

If your sleep study involves an overnight stay at the sleep lab, patient rooms are set up to make you as comfortable as possible so you can have a full night’s sleep.
Our goal is to help you understand why you are experiencing sleep difficulties and how to best treat it so you can achiever restful sleep. Treatment can include education, medication, coping mechanisms, and a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.

On This Day You Should

  • Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible’
  • Avoid napping
  • Eliminate use of caffeine after lunch
  • Shower
  • Avoid using hair sprays or gels that can interfere with the sleep recording
  • If you are on a regular medication, speak with your Family Medicine provider to determine whether any medication should be temporarily discontinued.

When it is time to report for your sleep study, bring any items that you need for your nightly routine. Prepare for the sleep study as if you are staying at a hotel for a night. You may want to bring:

  • Comfortable pajamas or clothes to sleep in
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste and hair brush
  • Makeup remover
  • Reading material
  • Clean clothes for the morning

When you arrive, a sleep technologist will ask about your sleep habits. There may be a pre-sleep questionnaire for you to fill out.

You will have some time to make yourself at home. There will not be any other patients in your room.

Test Processing

When you are ready to go to bed, the sleep technologist will attach sensors to your body. The sensors, which are glued or taped to you, monitor your body while you sleep. These sensors are painless. Make sure to tell the technologist if you are allergic or sensitive to any adhesives.

The wires are long enough to let you move around and turn over in bed. At the start of the test, you will be asked to move your eyes, clench your teeth and move your legs. This will make sure that the sensors are working.

You are free to read or watch TV until your normal bedtime. When it is time for you to try to go to sleep, the lights will go off and a low-light video camera will allow the technologist to see you from a nearby room. If a sensor comes loose or you need to go to the bathroom during the night, the technologist will have to help you with the wires.

Many patients do not sleep as well as they would at home. This may be because of the sensors or the unfamiliar environment. This typically does not affect the results. Nearly everyone falls asleep during an in-lab study. In most cases, you do not need a full eight hours of sleep for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Occasionally, you may be prescribed medication to help you sleep during the in-lab sleep study.

In the morning the technologist will test and then remove the sensors. You may be asked to fill out a morning questionnaire that asks about the quality of your sleep and your experience in the sleep center. The in-lab study is complete once you are awake and the sensors have been removed.

Test Results

Once the study is complete, the data is forwarded to and interpreted by the clinic’s medical director, Melisa A. Coaker, M.A., M.D. Once the data is interpreted, results from the study will be shared with your primary care provider.

Hours of Operation

For our patients’ convenience, sleep studies are usually offered Friday and Saturday, but other arrangements can be made if those days don’t work. Patients usually check in at approximately 8 p.m. and leave the following morning by 5 or 6 a.m.