In search of a good night’s sleep

Sleep lab at UNTHSC

William Wigton suffered from recurrent headaches and had trouble breathing. His primary care physician recommended he undergo a sleep study to find out if obstructive sleep apnea was the culprit.

Wigton chose the UNT Health Science Center Sleep Center for his care. Nestled at the edge of the UNTHSC campus, the Sleep Center, among a select group of sleep centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, is located in a refurbished home that includes four patient bedrooms.

The goal is to provide a comfortable environment for patients to get a good night’s rest so their sleep problems can be assessed most accurately.

“It felt like staying in a hotel room,” Wigton said. “I was able to fall asleep easily. You wouldn’t expect that in a hospital-type room.”

At the Sleep Center, patients are evaluated for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy and periodic limb movement disorder. Patients sleep at the center overnight, while a sleep technologist records their brain waves, oxygen level, heart rate, and eye and leg movements.

In Wigton’s case, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. He was treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, a mask-like device that delivers pressurized air to keep his airway open, thus easing his symptoms and improving his sleep.

He also joined a support group of other CPAP patients led by Brandy M. Roane, PhD, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist.

“CPAP therapy is a lifestyle change,” Dr. Roane said. “As with any change, some patients take to it quickly while others might need a bit more guidance. We try to help all patients make these changes regardless of where they fall on that spectrum.”

Said Wigton, “Dr. Roane thinks like a patient, so she is able to put herself in our shoes and is very helpful.”

To make an appointment at the Sleep Center or for more information, call 817-735-2650.

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