Sleep Center 

It’s all in a Good Night’s Sleep

Everyone has trouble getting a good night’s sleep from time to time, which can affect an individual’s overall health as well as their day to day activities; however, more than 70 million Americans suffer from more than 80 types of sleep disorders that remain 95% undiagnosed.

The Atlanta Center for Sleep Disorders at Atlanta Medical Center is helping to diagnose and treat these patients. The Center operates under established standards and is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The medical director, Swapan Dholakia, MD, is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine. He completed a fellowship in sleep medicine, as well as a sleep medicine rotation at Emory University.

Types of disorders

The most often diagnosed sleep disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). With this disorder patients stop breathing often hundreds of times a night which disrupts their sleep and puts them at a higher risk for cardiac disease and stroke. Common symptoms of OSA include:

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (falling asleep at inappropriate times)
  • Loud Snoring
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Waking from sleep choking or gasping for air
  • Morning Headaches
  • Loss of Sex drive

Other disorders:

  • Narcolepsy – frequent attacks of drowsiness and sleepiness
  • Insomnia – an inability to initiate or maintain sleep
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)/ Restless Leg Syndrome - twitching of the legs and sometimes arms or creepy/crawly feelings in the legs
  • Parasomnias – disorders that include, sleep walking, bed wetting, teeth grinding and night terrors

Types of testing

Sleep disorders are diagnosed through several methods and may include one or more nights and/or days of testing in our sleep center located in the hospital. This safe, hotel-like environment is complete with full size beds, TVs and full bathrooms.

A sleep study or nocturnal polysomnogram (NPSG) is an overnight test that looks at a patient’s brain waves, air flow, oxygen level and heart rhythm, and is performed at a patient’s usual bedtime.

The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) measures daytime sleepiness and consists of five 20-35 minute naps throughout the day following a sleep study. The patient must remain awake between naps.

The Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Study or Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (Bi-PAP) Study is noninvasive treatment requiring a second sleep study to determine the appropriate amount of pressure that will eliminate the apnea and snoring.

The Center utilizes state of the art diagnostic equipment that allows for acquisition, scoring and data review. Reports are turned around in a timely fashion with reports usually completed within one week.

Children Can Benefit from Testing

Sleep problems are not limited to adults. Often children who experience bed-wetting, night terrors or other sleep-related problems come to the center for help. Children with sleep problems often experience learning difficulties, slow growth and hyperactivity. Current research data has shown that medical sleep disorders in children are associated with learning and behavioral disorders and most notably attention deficit disorder.

What to Expect

Contacting the Atlanta Center for Sleep Disorders is the first step. While patients may be referred by their primary care physicians, they may also contact the center by calling 678-904-1890. We can assist in scheduling a consultation appointment.

If you or someone you know suffers from any of the problems described, a better night’s sleep may be just a phone call away. Please call the Atlanta Center for Sleep Disorders at Atlanta Medical Center for more information.

Good Sleeping Tips from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

  • Get up about the same time every day.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Get vigorous exercise in the late afternoon, at least 6 hours prior to bedtime and mild exercise, such as simple stretching or walking, at least 4 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for eating meals, taking medication, performing chores and other activities help keep our inner clocks running smoothly.
  • Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime and don't drink alcohol, especially when you are sleepy. Even a small dose of alcohol when you are tired can have a potent effect. Do not smoke before bedtime.
  • Try to nap at the same time every day. Mid-afternoon is best for most people.
  • Use sleeping pills conservatively. Most doctors seldom prescribe the use of sleeping pills for more than three weeks. Do not take sleeping pills after drinking alcohol.

National Sleep Foundation
American Academy of Sleep Medicine