Sleep Study Provides Answers and Relief from Dozing While Driving

Woman-Wearing-CPAP-MachineMary Williams, 52, was perpetually tired, even though she thought she was getting a good night’s rest.

“Apparently I was snoring, although I didn’t believe I was,” Mary said. “I had no idea of the quality or lack of quality of sleep, because I never woke up gasping for air. I was sure it was a thyroid issue.”

She never suspected sleep apnea, but her daily routine suggested otherwise:

  • She woke up with headaches.
  • Setting an alarm on the weekends was a necessity to wake up before noon.
  • On workdays around 2 p.m., she fought sleepiness with caffeinated drinks.
  • Three-hour road trips to visit family required a nap stop halfway through the drive.

Drowsiness while driving was particularly scary, so she brought it up with her primary care physician who recommended a sleep study. A sleep study can assist in diagnosing or ruling out a sleep disorder. The most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, caused by a blockage of the upper airway, and is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing while sleeping.

Mary was nervous about being able to sleep in a strange place, but found that she was able to fall asleep without any problems during her sleep study appointment.

“The staff is amazing and very caring,” she said. “My tech was wonderful. He made me feel very comfortable and answered all of my questions.”

After the sleep study, she was fitted for a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP), and it made all the difference in her energy and alertness.

“I feel more rested in the morning and don’t have to use alarms on the weekends,” she said. “I am more comfortable driving long distances to see family. I am able to spend more time doing the activities I like.”

If you are experiencing similar issues, make an appointment to discuss your concerns with your Memorial Physician Services primary care provider. Sleep studies take place at Memorial Medical Center/SIU School of Medicine Sleep Disorders Center, located at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. Testing is provided during the day and night to accommodate all schedules.