Helping you sleep better
Understanding how to improve the quality of your sleep is important for your physical and emotional health. We're here to help. Sleep medicine doctors at Ascension Alexian Brothers - Sleep Care listen to understand you and your health concerns. Then, we work with you to create a care plan that's right for you.
Do you have a sleep disorder?
Here are some signs that it may be time to see a sleep specialist:
- Sleeping less than five hours per night
- Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
- Waking several times each night
- Waking up too early in the morning and being unable to fall back asleep
- Still feeling tired during the day, even though you slept through the night
- Inability to resist napping
- Falling asleep unexpectedly (at your desk, while driving, watching TV)
- Excessive sweating during the night
- Frequent urination during the night
- Frequent need to take over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications to fall asleep
Sleep disorders we treat
Our sleep doctors and registered sleep technologists specialize in performing diagnostic tests to better understand how your breathing, napping and nightly sleep routine affects your heart, lungs and brain. Common sleep conditions include:
- Circadian rhythm disorders
- Dream enactment
- Insomnia (acute and chronic)
- Night terrors
- Obstructive or central sleep apnea
- Pediatric sleep disorders
- Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- Sleep paralysis
- Sleep talking
Sleep tests for different types of sleep disorders
When chronic snoring, fatigue and daytime sleepiness affect your daily life, ask your doctor if a sleep study is right for you. Our Sleep Center provides a wide range of testing options, including:
- All-night sleep study
- Continuous and bi-level positive airway pressure titration
- Multiple sleep latency testing (MSLT) for diagnosis of narcolepsy
- Maintenance of wakefulness testing (MWT) to measure ability to stay awake and alert
What to expect during a sleep study
When you arrive at Ascension Alexian Brothers Sleep Care, you will be greeted by a member of your care team and shown to your private bedroom. Our state-of-the-art facilities look and feel like serene, private hotel rooms. They are equipped with sensors that monitor breathing, brain waves, muscle activity, heart rate, oxygen and body movements. Your room has a private bathroom and is supplied with pillows and blankets, but you are welcome to bring your own pillows for comfort.
Before you change into your nightclothes, our staff will ask you to complete some paperwork (you will bring your own nightclothes; no hospital gown needed). They will then discuss the testing procedure with you and take your vital signs.
Your specialist will place a set of painless sensors (small patches with adhesive) on your scalp, face and body. These sensors monitor brainwave activity and the stages of your sleep, and are designed to be as comfortable as possible. Applying the sensors requires a paste that is applied on your scalp and in your hair, which easily washes out with warm water and shampoo in the morning. You will also have sensors that monitor your heart rate and rhythm, oxygen, snoring, breathing, eye movements and muscle tension. There are no injections or medications.
After you've been prepared for the test by the technician, you will start relaxing just as you normally would before going to sleep. Once in bed, the technician will monitor you from a different room. If you need to get up during the night, a technician will disconnect you from the main monitoring cable and you will be able to move freely to the bathroom.
In the morning, all of the sensors will be disconnected and removed. An Ascension Illinois - board-certified sleep medicine specialist will review each study after it is completed. A final, written sleep study report containing testing results and treatment recommendations will be sent to your healthcare provider.
Frequently asked questions
How do I get tested for a sleep disorder?
An Ascension Illinois - sleep medicine doctor can provide a complete clinical evaluation, which might include an overnight sleep study (a polysomnogram) at one of our comfortable, state-of-the-art facilities. The sleep study requires an order from your doctor (just like a blood test or X-ray).
My sleep is fine. Why is my doctor ordering a sleep study?
We often don't know exactly what we do at night because we are sleeping. In some cases, we might have a spouse or family member who can inform us that we are restless, kicking, snoring, making funny noises or even appear to stop breathing when we sleep. On the other hand, it's possible that our spouse is sleeping deeply, or that other family members have no real chance to observe our sleeping habits overnight. That's why a sleep study is so helpful. Our technicians will attach different painless sensors to monitor your brainwaves, heart rate, leg movements, oxygen level and other activity. This eliminates any question of how you slept and what you did during your sleep.
The doctor who has asked you to have the sleep study might have done so because you have risk factors such as hypertension, heart disease, asthma, diabetes or because you meet certain criteria: you have frequent sinus infections or colds, are overweight, have a large neck circumference, use the bathroom often at night or have a family history consistent with sleep apnea. Even patients who say that they can sleep anywhere, anytime are likely to suffer from a sleep disorder.
I'm awake all night. How can I have a sleep study?
Many of our patients who tell us that they don't sleep, do actually sleep. After the test has started, there are times when we enter a patient room to check something and are very quiet so that we won't wake up our sleeping patient. Yet, when we walk into the room, the patient wakes up and informs us that they have not slept yet and are concerned about not being able to sleep for the study. Some patients have "sleep state misperception" They think that they are awake but they are sleeping.
Is the sleep study painful?
No, it is completely noninvasive and painless. The technician applies some sensors to different places to monitor different signals. Many of these sensors have adhesive stickers that peel off easily in the morning. No needles are used.
How will I fall asleep with those wires on?
Many people take a few extra minutes to get comfortable with the sensors and wires on. Once the patient's preparation is complete, you may watch TV or read a book to relax. Most people fall asleep within 30 minutes of their usual time. If being unable to sleep is a major concern, talk to your doctor about it. He or she might prescribe a mild sleep aid for your study night.
What if I have to use the bathroom?
We have many patients who go to the bathroom several times throughout the study, and it is not a problem. Simply let your technician know. All of the wires are plugged into a small jack box. This is simply detached from the wall cable, we hang the box around your neck or shoulder, and you are able to move about freely. Once you are done and back to bed, the jack box is plugged back in.
May I bring my family with me?
Family members can accompany you to the sleep center and stay for a short period of time, but they are not allowed to stay late or to stay overnight. The exception is for parents of children under 18 years of age who must stay all night or for patients with special needs. The sleep center staff can be contacted directly for assistance in identifying the special needs patient. Please also note that animals such as pet dogs or cats are not allowed in the sleep lab except for assistance animals such as guide dogs for the vision impaired.
What do I bring to my sleep study?
Please bring comfortable sleeping clothes: pajamas, nightshirt, shorts and a shirt, or sweatpants. We recommend layers for those who get cold at night. We have pillows and blankets (including heated blankets), but some patients prefer to bring their own pillows for maximum comfort. Be sure to bring any medications that you take at night or in the morning as the facility has no medications available. Every hotel-like patient room has a private bathroom as well as shower facilities for those who want to wash up prior to leaving in the morning.
Home-based sleep study
Ascension Alexian Brothers Sleep Care offers a diagnostic home sleep study for patients whose insurance will not cover an overnight study at a sleep center. The home sleep study has painless, easy-to-use equipment that can provide your sleep doctor with valuable information about your sleep health.
To get started, you will come to the center at a scheduled time and a sleep technician will show you how to use the testing equipment. The equipment includes belts with wires that attach to a small machine which records sleep data while you sleep at night in your own bed.
The next day, you will return the sleep equipment to the sleep center. Once the equipment is returned, the sleep technician will collect the data. Your sleep doctor will then interpret the data and send a sleep report to your primary care doctor. Based on results, your primary care doctor or sleep doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
Sleep disorder care plans
Your doctor provides treatment options to help you manage your symptoms, such as fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety. Sleep disorder treatments also help support your brain and heart health by improving the delivery of oxygen throughout your body. Treatments for sleep disorders may include:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for sleep apnea
- Insomnia treatment using cognitive behavior therapy
- Inspire device implantation (alternative to CPAP)
- Lifestyle and dietary changes
- Medically supervised weight loss or bariatric surgery
- Medication management
- Relaxation skills