Dr. Victoria Sharma, a sleep disorders specialist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, answers questions on the importance of sleep and what entails a sleep study. Aired on July 14, 2014, on SD Connect.
Autumn Doermann, San Diego Connect Anchor: A good night’s sleep is essential for your health and well being. Joining us today to discuss sleeping disorders is Dr. Victoria Sharma, a Sharp Grossmont Hospital affiliated-physician. So Dr. Sharma, why is sleep so important to our overall well being?
Dr. Victoria Sharma, Sharp Grossmont Hospital Affiliated-Physician: Well, sleep is necessary for our physical and mental health, safety and overall quality of life. Inadequate or poor quality sleep can actually worsen many common health conditions. For example, obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious disorder where a patient’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and several other conditions. Untreated sleep apnea can also increase the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident.
Autumn: So, tell me, what are some common sleep disorders and how do you treat them?
Dr. Sharma: Some common sleep disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness and restless legs syndrome. At Sharp Grossmont Hospital, we treat sleep disorders in various ways, depending on the specific sleep issue we’re dealing with. Many patients will go on to get a sleep study to further identify a problem. For some patients, behavioral modification is enough, while others may benefit from some medications, while still others may end up using a CPAP machine to help them breathe better at night.
Autumn: And when would someone consult a sleep specialist?
Dr. Sharma: Someone may consult with a sleep specialist if they have a sleep problem that affects their health or the quality of their life.
Autumn: And you mentioned a sleep study, so tell us more about that.
Dr. Sharma: A sleep study is a diagnostic test that is used to determine whether a patient has obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. The patient spends the night in the sleep lab but before going to sleep they get hooked up to various sensors to monitor the various aspects of their sleep. At Sharp Grossmont Hospital, patients are not hospitalized but rather spend the night in our newly renovated sleep rooms, which feature many comforts and amenities of a hotel room. We now also have the possibility of doing home sleep studies in select patients.
Autumn: What symptoms qualify someone to get a sleep disorder study?
Dr. Sharma: Symptoms that may qualify someone to get a sleep study include things like snoring, waking up frequently at night, stopping breathing at night, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, leg jerks or other unusual behaviors during sleep.
Autumn: Thank you, Dr. Sharma. For tips on a good night’s rest or to find a sleep medicine doctor affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital visit www.sharp.com/sleep or call 1-800-82-SHARP.