Help for Insomnia, Sleep Apnea

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers sleep insufficiency a major public health problem. People nodding off while performing daily tasks has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, medical errors and industrial disasters. People who do not get sufficient sleep are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, depression and obesity, as well as cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity. Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are two major culprits, according to the CDC. Between 50 and 70 million US adults are believed to have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.

Getting Evaluated for a Sleep Disorder

If you are having trouble getting restful sleep, the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwest Texas Healthcare System can help. Our physicians focus on diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia and other conditions. In many cases, after an initial consultation, you will be asked to stay overnight at the sleep center to help physicians diagnose your condition and recommend a plan of treatment. During the overnight stay, clinicians monitor sleep patterns, heart rate, breathing, muscle movement, brain waves and oxygen levels.

Each of the sleep study rooms includes a queen size bed with comfortable linens, television, bath towels, robe, bathroom and shower. Beverages and recliners are available upon request. We also have rooms that are ADA (Accessible).

Sleep Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of sleep disorders may include one or more of the following:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up gasping for air or choking
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Restless sleep
  • Irritability
  • Teeth grinding
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Leg cramps or an uncontrollable urge to move your legs while resting

Types of Sleep Disorders

The Sleep Disorders Center at Northwest Texas Healthcare System provides sleep studies to test for a variety of sleep disorders, including:

Insomnia

Insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep) may have numerous causes; there is often no one reason for insomnia. It may be caused by psychiatric conditions, medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, ingested substances (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, medications), biological factors or some combination of these. Medications, such as those for colds and allergies, asthma, hypertension, heart disease, thyroid disease or depression are well known for contributing to sleep difficulties.

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses in the airway as a person sleeps. This causes the person to stop breathing, often hundreds of times each night. Symptoms include loud snoring followed by a sudden silence when breathing stops and gasping and snorting when breathing resumes. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and more.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an unpleasant sensation in the legs and the powerful urge to move them. Symptoms primarily occur at night, which can cause restless sleep and excessive tiredness during the day.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is associated with extreme daytime drowsiness, as well as intermittent and involuntary sleep episodes that can occur during any daytime activity. Symptoms may include excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis and a sudden loss of muscle tone that can cause slurred speech and muscle collapse.

Other Sleep Disorders

Our physicians can also evaluate and treat other disorders.


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About the Director

Northwest’s Sleep Disorders Center director, Dr. Brent Stevenson, D.O., completed residency along with an accredited sleep medicine fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is currently a full-time sleep medicine physician and partner at one the largest sleep medicine groups in the state of Texas. Dr. Stevenson has expertise in the full range of sleep disorders and is board-certified in sleep medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Over the years, Dr. Stevenson has served as a community faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and maintains interests in clinical research activities. He has directed clinical research trials in his previous role as medical director of research at Green Oaks Hospital in Dallas. Prior research experiences have yielded publications in the area of metabolism and he maintains substantial interest in the interaction of sleep physiology and metabolic disorders. A current focus of his research involves understanding parasomnias, specifically sleep-related bruxism (grinding of teeth) and the apparent association to periodic limb movement disorder of sleep. 

Dr. Stevenson is active in various professional organizations and maintains memberships in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association and the Texas Medical Association.

Direct Doctors Plus®

To find a sleep specialist or another doctor affiliated with Northwest Texas Healthcare System, contact our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 800-887-1114.