New Center for Sleep Disorders at NYM

Feel Good About Sleeping Through Your Doctor's Exam: NYM's New Center for Sleep Disorders

Mar 14, 2013


New York Methodist Hospital has opened a new facility housing its Center for Sleep Disorders (CSD), a cutting edge laboratory that combines the comforts of home with the latest technology to conduct overnight studies for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep problems. The CSD also has specialized rooms for pediatric patients as well as those being evaluated for bariatric surgery.

"During an average lifespan, a person will typically spend over 25 years asleep," said Jeremy Weingarten, MD, pulmonary and sleep specialist and medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders. "However, over 40 million Americans have a chronic sleep disorder, and with every passing year, more data emerges about the long term psychological and physical effects of those illnesses. For example, up to nine percent of women and 24 percent of men are estimated to have sleep apnea, which is characterized not only by snoring, but also by regular periods when breathing stops during sleep. Over time, sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. A sleep study at the CSD can provide the comprehensive diagnosis crucial to finding the right therapy for our patients."

Patients who might benefit from a sleep evaluation include those who regularly have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, patients who gasp for breath during sleep, those whose legs are 'active' at night, who are tired when they wake up in the morning and cannot function normally during the day, or whose sleepiness and fatigue persists for more than two or three weeks.

"A typical sleep study (also known as a polysomnogram) at NYM's sleep laboratory begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends at 7:00 a.m. on the following day," said John Cunningham, chief polysomnographic technologist at the CSD. "During a sleep study, we use both optical and infrared cameras, sophisticated computer software, and devices that allow us to monitor a patient's eye movement, breathing, leg movements, lung function, cardiac function and other vital processes. We want our physicians and sleep experts to have all the information they need to evaluate a patient's health during sleep. We're not testing for one sleep disorder-we're testing for all of them, in one night."

However, for the patient, the benefits of a sleep study extend far beyond the Center for Sleep Disorders. If a disorder is diagnosed, appropriate treatment-ranging from medications that reduce the daytime effects of sleepiness to breathing masks and devices called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines-may reduce or eliminate symptoms of the sleep disorder.

"The new Center for Sleep Disorders aims to make an overnight stay at an advanced diagnostic laboratory feel, to the patient, like a comfortable night's sleep in their own bed at home," said Suhail Raoof, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at NYM. "After all, there's no reason a sleep study should deprive any patient of a good night's sleep."

For more information about the Center for Sleep Disorders at NYM, click here or call 718-780-3017.