The Power of a Restful Night’s Sleep

Gritman Sleep Center Helps Patients Solve Overnight Distress

Potential for sleep apnea is one of many reasons patients seek out a sleep study at the Gritman Medical Center Sleep Center.

“People who are feeling excessively tired in the day, have hypertension, have snoring or apneas at night, those are good indications of sleep apnea,” Registered Sleep Technologist Mark Johnson said. “They need to go to a physician to have a sleep study performed. With the treatment being the CPAP.”

Johnson, who also serves as Gritman’s Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, said overnight stays in our hospital’s Sleep Center include being hooked up to instruments that analyze breathing, muscle tension and other factors.


Sleep tests use a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen and a device called an electroencephalograms, or EEG, which monitors brain waves over the course of an extended period. While an MRI or a CT-Scan supply real-time images of something going on in the body, the EEG shows brain function over time. It can help providers identify sleep apnea, as well as epilepsy, Parkinson’s and other diseases unrelated to sleep.

And while some of us may look at the equipment used to diagnose sleep disorders with apprehension, Johnson and Gritman EEG Technician Lisa Scallorn note the end result is well worth the examination.

“For sleep apnea, once you’re on a CPAP (Continuous Positivity Airway Pressure Machine), it can make you feel more alert, awake and have more energy,” Johnson said. “It can really improve your quality of life.”

The results are so outstanding that Johnson said most people “feel refreshed and like a million bucks” once they are on a regimen like a CPAP machine.

The team works with Sleep Medicine Physician Dr. Richard Lambert to analyze patient sleep studies. Dr. Lambert consults with patients at the Gritman Sleep Center on select days and welcomes primary care provider referrals.

About six hours of sleep is needed to get the required data to identify whether a person is suffering from sleep apnea or another disorder. The number of “apneas” a person has in each sleep study helps determine the kind of treatment that may be needed.

Difficulty sleeping–whether through sleep apnea or positional sleep disorders–can also supply hints at underlying health conditions that are hard on the lungs and heart without treatment.

“For some people, they have some sleep apnea, it doesn’t always mean that they have to get a CPAP machine,” Scallorn said. “Some people’s apnea is very position related. It changes based on how they sleep. That’s one thing we can tell from the in-facility test.”

The Gritman Sleep Center has two sleep suites that encourage a restful environment for examination. Patients also have the choice of an at-home sleep study that involves checking out equipment by Sleep Center staff for later analysis. At-home sleep studies can help when detecting sleep apnea but don’t always work in detecting other types of sleep disorders.

“I think the sleep lab specifically provides a lot of great services,” Gritman Cardiopulmonary Director Kevin Uptmor said.

Concerns about sleep apnea, narcolepsy and hypertension may all be factors for patients asking for a sleep study referral. Anyone aged 13 and older can take part in a sleep study, nationally accredited by the National Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Learn more about the Gritman Sleep Center and whether a sleep study is right for you at

Should you have a sleep study?

Are you tired during the day? If you stop breathing or snore while you’re sleeping, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can make it hard to get through the day, but treatment will make you feel better and could even save your life. Use this interactive tool to find out more 

Pictured at top: Sleep suites in the Gritman Sleep Center are designed to encourage a restful environment, helping you acclimate while measurements are taken during a sleep study.