Spotlight on Bacharach’s Sleep Center
Every March, the National Sleep Foundation sponsors Sleep Awareness Week, which is designed to educate the public and promote awareness about the importance of sleep. There are as many as three million Americans who may suffer from serious sleep disorders. What many people don’t realize is that sleep problems are not only disruptive to physical and mental health, but some can be life threatening.
The Sleep Center at Bacharach is fully equipped to diagnose sleep problems in adults and children with a variety of innovative testing options. The Bacharach sleep team includes a physician who is board-certified in sleep medicine and brings together advanced diagnostic tools and years of experience to develop an individualized care plan that helps patients successfully manage their sleep issues and get the sleep they need. One of the first hospitals in southern New Jersey to treat sleep disorders, our eight-bed, state-of-the-art sleep and neurodiagnostics center offers a full range of tests including the gold standard overnight sleep study. The Sleep Center has been designed to make patients feel relaxed and comfortable with amenities similar to those found at a luxury hotel.
Offering the only pediatric sleep center in the region, the Sleep Center considers addressing children’s sleep disorders one of its specialties.
Sleep is a critical part of the growing process and symptoms of pediatric sleep issues often include hyperactivity, difficulty earning, sleepwalking, sleep-talking and snoring. Mary Adekunle (left), clinical director at the Bacharach Sleep Center, explained, “Children who have interrupted sleep during the night may not be getting the oxygen levels they need. Adults who do not get enough sleep will get tired during the day, but children will get hyper from lack of sleep and are often diagnosed with ADHD.”
Because children require more nuanced attention than adults during a sleep study, children who visit Bacharach’s state-of-the-art overnight sleep testing lab receive one-on-one care from a sleep technologist. All testing is non-medicated and non-invasive. Mary said, “The sleep study utilizes numerous electrodes to monitor brain activity, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen levels and muscle tone. Children will toss and turn during the night and may even try to remove the monitors, so it is important that there is someone observing them throughout the entire process.”
The Sleep Center offers different types of testing depending upon the type of sleep disorder. A common sleep disorder, diagnosed in both adults and children, is obstructive sleep apnea. The airways of an individual with sleep apnea become partially or completely closed when they breathe during sleep, which prevents air from entering their lungs and causes breathing to repeatedly start and stop. Adults with heart disease, diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. It is important that those with sleep apnea seek treatment – because the condition puts the heart under stress by racing when it should be relaxing, sleep apnea can exacerbate heart disease and hypertension.
A common treatment for patients with sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Mary explained, “The CPAP is not actually breathing for the person, but it is applying airway pressure delivered through a mask or nose piece connected to a hose. The small amounts of air under pressure act like a splint to keep the airways open, allowing the individual to breathe on their own.”
Caitlin Papastamelos, M.D., FAACP, is a board-certified pediatric pulmonologist with a specialty in working with children with obstructed sleep apnea and other breathing issues during sleep. Parents are usually referred to her by their child’s pediatrician when concerns arise about a child’s unusual sleep behavior. Dr. Papastamelos shared, “Very frequently, unusual sleep behavior in children, such as night terrors, sleepwalking or kicking during sleep are developmental in nature. Most parents have dealt with a child who does not want to go to bed or wakes up during the night. This can often be a conditioned behavior that will respond to behavior modification.”
A thorough health history is critical in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in children. Dr. Papastameos shared, “A good history will date back to before birth. Developmental delays and conditions such as autism, anxiety and depression or trauma in the family can all affect sleep and daytime function. We can never look at sleep issues in isolation.” Children need an average of 8 ½ to 10 hours of sleep per night. Dr. Papastamelos explained, “We used to think that as children got older they needed less sleep, but that is not true.”
The Sleep Center offers different types of testing depending upon the type of sleep disorder. Both children and adults with sleep issues will greatly benefit from Bacharach’s dedicated team’s years of experience. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, the Sleep Center offers follow-up sessions, referral services, support groups and counseling to improve treatment tolerance and outcomes. The Bacharach Sleep Center – optimizing patients’ quality of life by offering innovative services that exceed expectations.