ARDMORE, Okla. -- About 16 years ago, Mike May decided to make a change after continually waking up exhausted each morning and spending every night snoring so loudly he woke up his wife and daughters.
“It can really affect your relationships at work and at home,” said May, 66, of Ardmore. “If you haven’t slept, you become introverted; get angry or are quick-tempered about a lot of things; and aren’t very engaged because you are just trying to stay awake. It’s really not a good place to be.”
He was living in Tulsa at the time and decided to get a sleep study to investigate whether he had an underlying sleep disorder. Doctors diagnosed him with obstructive sleep apnea — a potentially serious disorder where he repeatedly stops and starts breathing when his throat tissues relax and block his airway during sleep.
May was fitted for a mask and he began using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers needed support with room air to keep his airway open. For certain patients, oxygen may be prescribed. There are a variety of masks in different styles and sizes to fit each patient comfortably when using a CPAP machine.
Last November, May had another sleep study in the Mercy Hospital Ardmore Sleep Center after experiencing problems with his CPAP machine. Tests revealed that he still has obstructive sleep apnea. He received a new, more technologically advanced CPAP machine.
For May, treatment of his sleep disorder has been a lifesaver and has improved his quality of life. In fact, he has more energy to stay active in his church and spend quality time with his wife, two grown daughters and his first grandchild, Liam, born in May. As a mechanical engineer, he is feeling healthier and more rested each day, allowing him to better concentrate at work.
“I don’t think I’d be alive today if it weren’t for the fact that I was on a CPAP machine,” said May. “With this condition, if you don’t get it treated, your blood’s not oxygenating and that affects all of your organs. It’s really made a difference for me because I was miserable before I got the machine.”
About Mercy’s Sleep Services
The Mercy Hospital Ardmore Sleep Center offers sleep studies to evaluate patients for different forms of sleep apnea; excessive snoring; problems staying awake (narcolepsy); problems sleeping at night (insomnia); nighttime behaviors, including sleepwalking, night terrors or bedwetting; difficulty sleeping during the day due to an alternate work schedule; and repeated muscle twitching or movements of the feet, arms or legs during sleep (periodic limb movement disorder).
Patients seeking a sleep study will go to the sleep center for an overnight stay in a private room, which has many comforts of home, including a private bathroom and comfortable bed. Sleep studies are also available during the day for individuals who work at night.
During the study, a technologist places non-invasive sensors on the patient’s head and body, which monitors the different sleep stages to identify possible disruptions in sleeping and breathing patterns.
Within a few days, a sleep medicine physician will review the findings to determine whether the patient has a sleep disorder. Results will be sent to the patient’s referring physician.
“The sleep center staff at Mercy were amazing,” said May. “They were very nice, accommodating, helpful and informative. They answered every question I had.”
Sleep Disorders: A Growing Trend
The American Sleep Association estimates that about 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders annually and about 20 million Americans have occasional sleeping problems.
Insufficient sleep is linked to several chronic conditions, including obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. People who do not get enough sleep are also at a higher risk for vehicle and machine-related accidents.
“Getting quality sleep is so important for a person’s overall health and helps prevent the development of many chronic medical conditions,” said Becky Bray, a registered polysomnographic technologist and supervisor of the Mercy Hospital Ardmore Sleep Center. “Through a simple sleep study, we are able to determine if a patient has a sleep disorder and provide ways to treat that condition for a more restful sleep and a more productive time when awake."
May highly recommends seeking a sleep study and is happy the services are available close to home at Mercy Hospital Ardmore.
“Overall, if you watch your health, you will live longer,” he said. “If you want to be around to see your kids or grandkids or other relatives, you’ve got to take care of yourself. At least go in and get a test. It’s something so treatable and why wouldn’t you want to extend your life?”
If you struggle to get quality sleep and often wake up feeling groggy, grumpy or are unable to concentrate, you may be a good candidate for a sleep study, which can address issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, snoring, breathing while sleeping, daytime sleepiness and other sleep disruptions.
Patients using a CPAP machine should speak to their physician about a new sleep study every four to six years or when lifestyle or health changes occur, such as weight loss or weight gain; if patients no longer feel rested when they wake up; or if they take new medications that may cause sleep-related issues.
Participation in a sleep study requires a referral by a physician or provider. For more information, contact the Mercy Hospital Ardmore Sleep Center at 580-220-6233.