Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are the most common medical disorders in adult Americans. Over half our population suffers from a significant sleep disorder. These disorders can take a variety of forms that not only interfere with your daily life, but also can increase the risk of many serious health problems. Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up tired? Do you sleepwalk? Have you been told that you snore?

In recent years medical research has shown that sleep disorders are major causes of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression/anxiety, obesity, reflux disease, erectile dysfunction, motor vehicle accidents, marital problems, fatigue, and mental impairment. At Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee, our comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and successful treatment of sleep disorders can improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Obstructive OSA

Do you know the warning signs of Obstructive OSA (OSA)? The term “apnea” comes from Greek meaning “without breath.” Obstructive OSA (OSA) means that during sleep the airway is completely obstructed and there is no airflow. Intermittent long pauses or stopping of breathing while sleeping may indicate OSA. If you snore, you may be experiencing a condition called hypopnea (from Greek meaning “reduced breath”). How can you tell the difference? An apnea occurs from a completely obstructed airway and is silent. A hypopnea occurs from a partially obstructed airway and is usually loud. Snoring, or hypopnea, is the sound of someone struggling to breath while asleep.

OSA is well-known to cause or worsen including:
Heart Disease (including coronary artery disease, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and heart failure)
Diabetes Mellitus Type II
High Blood Pressure
Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Depression and Anxiety
Cognitive Impairment
Erectile Dysfunction

Treatment of OSA has been shown to improve the symptoms and/or decrease the risk of each of the above associated diseases.

OSA worsens with weight gain and age. Losing weight often helps but rarely resolves OSA. It is a vicious cycle where OSA makes one gain weight (especially women) and gaining weight worsens OSA, which leads to further weight gain. Treating OSA often causes weight loss and certainly improves the chances of weight loss.

While there are several new unsubstantiated treatments for OSA in the marketplace, the standard treatments include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), an oral appliance or mouthpiece, and very rarely surgery. The decision of which is best for you depends on a number of factors including severity of OSA, age, dental history, other diseases present, weight, etc. The best treatment for you will be decided by you and your Sleep Medicine Specialist together.


Insomnia is characterized by the inability to initiate or maintain sleep. It occurs when you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep even though you’ve had the opportunity for a full night of rest. Adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, individuals suffering from insomnia may find that they have difficulty meeting that nightly sleep recommendation. This common ailment often involves one or more of the following sleep disturbances:
difficulty falling asleep
difficulty staying asleep
waking too early in the morning
Insomnia often manifests itself as excessive daytime sleepiness, and it can severely impact your quality of life. Lack of sufficient sleep may result in impaired cognitive function, low energy levels, inability to concentrate, memory issues, relationship trouble, work difficulties and increased frequency of errors or accidents.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) states that as many as 30 to 35% of adults may complain of insomnia at some point in their lives. It is most common in groups such as older adults, women, individuals under stress, and those with certain medical and mental health problems such as depression.
Insomnia is classified as either short-term or chronic based on the regularity and duration of the sleep disturbance and daytime symptoms.
Short-term insomnia is generally limited in duration – lasting for up to 3 months, and AASM estimates it occurs in 15 to 20% of people.
Chronic insomnia affects approximately 10% of people, and it occurs at least 3 times per week for a minimum of 3 months.
The sleep specialists at Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee can diagnose and provide ongoing care for insomnia. Our Sleep Medicine Advanced Practice Providers are trained in the most effective forms of treatment. The first line of recommended treatment for insomnia is often Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) [2], which addresses the attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that negatively impact your sleep. CBT is a good treatment choice because it offers lasting benefits and no negative side effects. In certain cases, your provider may recommend sleep medication in addition to CBT. Sleep medications can also be an effective choice for short-term treatment of insomnia. For example, they can provide immediate relief of symptoms during periods of elevated grief and stress.
Each case is different, but effective treatment options are available. Don’t let insomnia prevent you from sleeping well and living life to the fullest. Our Sleep Medicine Advanced Practice Providers are here to help you feel your best. Get help today.
[1]  Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al.; Consensus Conference Panel. Joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: methodology and discussion. Sleep. 2015;38:1161–1183.
[2] Bonnet MH, et al. Treatment of insomnia.